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IN the ancient history of India, Ujjain occupied, if 
* not the foremost, at least, a most conspicuous 
place. Nature ordained that this city of light, with 
a climate temperate and salubrious and soil very 
fertile, should play an important part. It was here 
that the dramas of Bhasa and Shudraka, came to be 
acted first. Jainism and Buddhism, though born 
elsewhere, received their garbs at Ujjain. The 
important role which the Vedic religion played here 
is well-known to history. The sun of Ujjain's glory 
was at his meridian during the rule of Raja 
Vikramaditya, but following the universal law of 
nature he turned his course down towards the 
horizon, With the loot of the city by Altamash in 
1235, though the glory of the city departed long ago, 
and though now it happens to be no more the living 
centre of Hindu religion and Hindu literature, the 
name of Ujjain is still inseparably bound up with the 
golden age of Sanskrit literature and to travellers, 
who come here from all parts of India and from 
abroad, Ujjain of to-day is still the Awantika of 
Vikramaditya and Kalidasst. 

The history of Ujjain means a retrospect of six- 
ty centuries and is seen to trace itself far back 
through the depths of antiquity. The solid ground 
of history, upon which we can safely tread, begins 
however with the conquest of Ujjain by Bindusar 
in 286 B. C. Information of events earlier than 
this, in the absence of any historical data, we have 
to glean from various sources and many a time to 
connect the results of our observations with prob- 
abilities only. For, where history itself presents a 
blank page, the process of probable reasoning is our 
only guide to help us to link the obscure past with 
the historical present. 

Our knowledge of the past is dim and vague. 
We know of many inroads of Mahomedans, we 
can trace the line of Moghul rulers from Babar down 
to Mohamadshah, we can tell with certainty when 
and by whom the Tajmahal of Agra was built; but we 
cannot definitely tell who founded the Shaka era, 
why the Malava era came to be called Vikrama Sam- 
wat, what relation existed between Gandharvasen 
and his descendant Vikramaditya and when did the 
first observatory of Ujjain see the light of the day. 
We have no apology to offer for this ignorance of 
the history of the land we call our own , 

That there is need for a popular work giving the 
concise history and other necessary land interesting 

information regarding this ancient town of famd 
with a view to guide the curious visitor, will not, we 
trust, be denied. But the task of compiling a con- 
nected and authentic history with meagre materials 
largely consisting of legends, traditions and folklores 
which are sometimes inconsistent with themselves 
require great leisure, and extensive reading, Leisure 
I have enough. To extensive reading I have 
no claim. Study of Buddhist and Jain literature 
supplemented by the study of the ancient histories 
of India and the accounts of travels written by 
foreigners enabled me however to glean the leading 
facts and to digest them in the present form as well 
as I could. The work, such as it is, is now placed 
in the hands of my indulgent sisters and brothers 
for whom it is intended. 

For a loan of old and rare books, I had to crave 
the indulgence of my esteemed friend Sardar Bala 
Sahib Shitole of Gwalior and I am glad to note that 
he did not grudge to lend me a helping hand. For 
this, my sincere thanks are due to him. 

I feel great pleasure in placing here on record 
the valuable help I received from Mr, C, V. Vaidya, 
M. A., LL. B,, the well-known worker in the field of 
ancient history and Sanskrit literature. I really find 
no words to express my deep sense of obligation to 

him for all the pains he took in going through the 
manuscript and letting me have the benefit of his 
valuable suggestions. 

Next, I have to place on record my sincere 
thanks to Dr. H. R. Divekar, M, A., D. Litt., Head 
Master, V. C. High School, Gwalior, and to 
Professor N. B. Paradkar, M. A. f of Madhava College, 
Ujjain, who have had a willing hand in the making 
of the book. 

And, lastly, my thanks are due to Mr. Y. T. 
Mangaokar, Manager, Alijah Darbar Press, Gwalior, 
for the pains he took in seeing the work through 
the press. 

1st January * 1985. 




1. Introductory ... . 1_8 

2. A Peep through the Ages ... 920 

3. From Ashoka to Bhoja ... 21 32 

4. From Jaisinh to Mohamadshah ~. 33 37 

5. From Subedar Ranoji to Maharaja 

Madhav Rao ... ... 38 44 

6. Then and Now ... ... 45 50 

7. Shaka. and Samvat Eras ... 5163 

S. Kalidasa his Time and Birth- 
place . ... ... 64 83 

9. King Vikramaditya I ... 8491 

10. Three Religions ... ... 92111 

11. Seat of Astromonical Study _ 112 118 

12. Theatre of Sanskrit Dramas ... 119128 

13. Shrines and Sacred Spots M 129143 

14. Sinhastha ... ~ 144148 

15. Places Worth Visit^ ^ 149158 

His Highness Maharaja Jeewaji Rao Scindia. 




TJJAINI, modern Ujjain, is a city situated on the 
east bank of the river Sipra, in the country of 
Malavas, otherwise known as Mahva. This tract of the 
country, in olden times, went by the name of Avanti* 
This name too, the country received from the town 
Awanti, which means the * Protecting City 1 and which 
was founded by Haihayas some 1,200 years before 
the Mahabharata war. Malwa, as we now find it, is 
bounded on the north by Rajputana and the greater 
part of Central India; on the east by Bundelkhand 
and Baghelkhand, on the south by the range of the 
Vindhya mountains and by the Rewa a river which 
men of these times call Narmada which rushes on 
its course through the narrow passes of the Vindhya 
and Satpura ranges; and on the west by Gujarath 
and the southern portion of Rajputana. 

The southern portion of Malwa as situated 
on the table-land of the Vindhya range is about 
2,000 ft. above the sea-level, and this height from 
the sea gradually lessens as the country slopes on 
and on to the north. 

In the heart of this country, or rather in the 
centre of the whole peninsula of India, at a height 
of 1,679 feet, above the sea- level is situated Ujjain, 
a city of ancient farns. In Sanskrit literature, we 
find several namas of th-3 town, such as Ujjaini, 
Ujjayini, Avantika, Vishala, Kushasthaii, Padmawati, 
Kanakshringa, Kumudwati and Amarawati, Ptolemy 
called it Oz2ne. To Greeks and Romans, it was 
known as Urain. Tne Chinese referred to it as 
Wa-sh3-yen-na which afterwards changed to 
U jay ana. 

The city, being the centre of the country was 
Jthe place, where scientific mathematical astronomy 
was first evolved. The Indian students of astronomy 
fixed their meridian here in relation to other places 
for the purpose of their astronomical calculations, 
as at present, this position has been assigned to 
Greenwich. Western scholars of astronomy have 
fixed their first meridian there, and Ujjain now 
finds its place in the hemisphere on 75*-50' east 
longitude and 23*- 10' north latitude. 


Yuan Chwang, a Chinese traveller, who visited 
Ujjain in 611 A.D. describes Wu-she-yen-na or Uja- 
yana as being about 30 li in circuit, A little over 4 
li being equal to one mile, the circumference of tho 
city at the time of Yuan Chwang's visit was between 
7 and 8 miles. The modern town of Ujjain is 
rectangular in shape and covers an area of about 
three square miles. Its length from north to south 
is two miles, and its breadth from east to wast is one 
mile and a half. It is surroandsd by a strong wall, 
provided :it various places with gates, the greater 
portion of w ! iich, is now in a ruined condition. Some 
ascribe the construction of this wall to Vikramadttya 
and others to some Mohimmedin Governor of 
Malwa. But neither of these statements is ba^ed 
on facts. 

.The clirmte is temperate. It is neither exceed, 
ingly hot nor exceedingly cold. In the hot season, 
the temperature usailly va-ies from 9)* to US' and 
sometimes up to 112", and in the cold season 
it ranges from 60* to 42' an J sometimes goes down 
as low as 35," In May and June, thing a it is very hot 
during the day, the nights are proverbially vary 
cool. Malwa nights arc famous for baing pleasant. 
Common parlance speaks of 'the dawn of Benares, 
tba evening of Oadh* the night of Malwa', and the 

saying is true, so far as Malwa nights are concerned, 
even to-day. 

The average rainfall is 32 inches. But the 
soil being fertile, even 25 inches of timely rain is 
enough for agricultural purposes. 

Ujjain and the country around it, between the 
Chambal and the Narmada, was in ancient times, 
inhabited by a tribe whom Abul Fazal in his Ain-i- 
Akbari, calls 'Nihaya,' and the Cambridge history 
of India calls 'Haihayas.' We are unable to say 
whether Haihayas and Nihayas are one and the 
same. Both the historians however believe them 
to be the descendents of Yadu and Prof, Wilson 
connects them with Hunas. According to Vishnu 
Puran, the Avantas, Ashmakas and Vitihotras were 
the descendents of Yadu race and they inhabited 
this country probably before the 7th century B. C. 
They interdined, intermarried and so intermixed that 
they could not be distinguished from one another 
and in the course of time, the whole tribe acquired 
the name of Avantas. 

The present population of Ujjain is made up of 
the descendents of many diverse races that settled 
here from time to time. In appearance, they greatly 
resemble the inhabitants of Gujarath, but in fact 
they came from different parts of the country. la 

the course of time, those diverse races got so inter- 
mixed and confounded, that it is now very difficult 
to say where one variety ends and the other begins. 

The census of 1931 gives us the figure of 
55,000 as the present population of the town, of 
which, the Hindus including the Jains are 39,000 
and the Mohammedans are 15,000. The Hindu 
population mostly consists of Brahmins, Baniyas, 
Rajputs, Malees, Balais and Chamars; while the 
Kayasthas and Marathas are very few in number. 
Among the Mohammedans, Boharas, Pathans and 
Shaikhs are in majority. Prominent among Brah- 
mins are Audeechas, and Gours. The Audeechas 
have come here from the north, and the Gours t 
locally known as Gujar Gours, from Gujarath. 
These Gujar Gours differ from the local Gours as 
the latter are included among the *Chhenatees 
while the former are not. The occupation of 
Audeecha and Gujar Gours is not definite. They 
are non-cultivating proprietors of land. They are 
priests and ministers of religion. They serve as 
guides to pilgrims and are also engaged in public 
and domestic services. They speak both Hindi 
and Gujarathi. 

*Chhenatees Dadhiet, Shaikhwals, Saras wtt, Qoai 9 
Parith and Khandelwals are collectively eo called. 


The Maharashtra Brahmins came to Ujjain 
from the Deccan and also from Konkan in the 18th 
century with their Maratha Princes Ranoji and 
Mahadji. They were engaged in civil and military 
services in Scindia's camp. With the change of capi- 
tal from Ujjain, many of them went to Gwalior and 
some of them migrated to other places. Their 
population has, at present, dwindled down to less than 
1,000. Among themselves, they speak Marathi. 
They are all literate and are mostly engaged in 
clerical services. The total of the Brahmin popula- 
tion of all classes comes to something like 7,000. 

The Baniyas of Ujjain are either Agarwals, 
Oswals, Khandelvvals or Mahesaries. They are 
generally bankers, money-brokers and retail shop- 
keepers. They are not very old settlers. They 
have come to Ujjain either from Gujarath, some 
three centuries ago, or from Marwar at a later date. 
They are either Jains or Vaishnawas, but by far the 
greater number is of the former. They are 6,000 in 
all and their spoken language is either Gujarat hi 
or Hindi. 

The Rajputs are the oldest inhabitants. 
Pococke in his 'India in Greece* traces their descent 
from Awantas or Abantas who took part in 'Trojan 
War 9 , Most of them now belong to serving off 

labouring class and their total population is 5,000. 
The aggregate number of Malees, Balais and 
Chamars comes to eight thousand. The Malees 
belong to cultivating class, while the Balais and 
Chamars are mostly labourers. The Marhattas, like 
Maharashtra Brahmins, came to Ujjain with Ranoji 
and Mahadji Scindia. They came in thousands, 
but now they are scarcely one thousand. They are 
generally in military, police and domestic services. 

Among Mohammedans, Boharas are the most 
predominant. They are engaged in every specie* 
of commerce. They are wholesale merchants as 
well as pedlars. They came to Ujjain from the sea- 
coast of Gujarath. Wherever they go, they form a 
distinct colony of their own. There are two such 
colonies at Ujjain cne at Kharakua and another at 
Sabzimandi, The word 'Bohara' is derived from 
the Hindi word 'Byohar' which means business. 
Their population at Ujjain is a little over 3 ; 000. 
Among themselves, they speak Gujarathi, but they 
know and speak Hindi as well. Other Mohammedans 
came to Ujjain for the first time in the 12th century 
with Sultan Altamash of Delhi, and since then t 
from time to time, to the end of 18th century, a 
stream of Muslim immigrants flowed into the town. 
Among them, Shaikhas and Pathans are in majority. 
The former are 5,000 and the latter are a little over 


8,000. Their occupations are manifold. Some are 
Cbhipas, who print various designs on cloth. Some 
are shopkeepers and some are shoemakers. Some 
are also engaged in public and domestic services. 
The butchers and hamals are exclusively 

Of the total population, 80,000 are actual 
workers and the remaining, their non-working 
dependents. Thirty, out of every hundred males 
and nine out of every hundred females are literate, 
if by literate we mean persons, who know the threa 
KB. Literacy does not hold a high place here. 



TJJAIN boasts a most remote antiquity. From 
^ time immemorial, it has been renowned as the 
very centre of Aryan civilization and Aryan culture 
and was once very famous as a seat of learning. It 
was here that Sbri Krishna and his brother learned 
Vedas, Vedant philosophy and archery. Its mention 
is made in almost all the sacred books of India. It 
is mentioned by Ptolemy and by the author of the 
Periplus of the Erythrean Sea. It has perhaps more 
undoubted claims to remote antiquity than any an- 
cient city in India* 

But the earlier history of Ujjain of the time, 
before the conquest of the town by Bindusar of the 
Maurya dynasty, which took place in 286 B. C. f is 
shrouded with mist in which chronological facts are 
vaguely fixed by centuries. 

In this chapter, we propose to put together, the 
more or less complete sequence of chronological 
data, collected by the labours of research scholars 
and the information we gathered from various 


sources, and to base our conclusions on the corres- 
ponding and corroborating circumstances which are, 
where historical records are silent, the best founda- 
tion on which probability can be based. 

Ths traditional belief is that Ujjain is co-eval 
with the existence of the world. In Skanda-Purana t 
various names of this city are given and one of them 
is 'Prati-Kalpa' which means that the city has been 
in existence even since the beginning of the world. 
But, this mention can only go to prove, if it proves 
anything at all, that it 13 one of the oldest towns in 
India and it has had its existence long before the 
historical times. 

The name of Ujjain finds no place in the 
'Vedas/ but this omission is not a conclusive evi- 
dence of its non-existence at the time of the compila- 
tion of the 'Vedas. 1 For the 'Rishis' of old, during 
the compilation of the 'Vedas' came from Hindu, 
kush in the north and reached only as far as Bram- 
havarta (Bithur). They did not cross the Chambal, 
nor did they make mention of any town in the 
Deccan or Central India. 

In the Kishkindha Kanda of Ramayana, men- 
tion of Avanti is made when Sugriva gives directions 
to monkeys a/, to the path by which they should go 
in search of 'Sita Devi 1 . But the geographical 


description of India, coming from the mouth of Sug* 
riva, seems to b^ an interpolation in the Ranmyana, 
It describes India from a centre somewhere about 
Kurukshetra and not from Kishkindha which is to 
the south of the Krishna river. Thus the Godawari, 
the Nurmada and Ujjain toing to the north of 
Kishkindha should have bsen mentioned as being 
in the way of those monkeys who were sent to the 
north; while they are mentioned here as lying in the 
path of those who would go to the south. This 
mention of Ujjain in Ramayana* has therefore na 
historical value and cannot be construed as an evi- 
dence of Ujjain being as old as the days of Rama. 

Val. Ram. IV. 41, 6 to 1O 


From the Puranas, we know that there was 
a very powerful king in Haihayas the descendants 
of Yadu's son, Sahasrarjit by name Arjuna Karta- 
virya. He had his capital at * Mahishmati the 
modern Mandhata which was founded by one of his 
ancestors Mahishman. This city was attacked many 
times by Nagas, but while this powerful king was 
living, the Nagas could not wrest the stronghold of 
Mahishmati from him. But after his death, the 
Haihayas, being troubled by Nagas and Punyajanas 
{Rakshasas) coming from the east and south, left 
this place and Jayadhwaja, a son of Arjuna Karta- 
virya, climbing the Vindhyas, settled in the plains 
of Malwa where he founded a city and named it as 
f 'Awanti' protector because it saved him from 
the above-named inroads. This happened nearly 
1,200 years before the Mahabharata war. 

According to Vishnu Purana, Shurasena, the 
twelfth in descent from Yada, married Mareesha and 

*Mahi&hmati. Some suppose Mahishmati as modern Mahea* 
^rar but Kalidas calls Rewa as lUff^efasfa^Hl in Raghu- 
waneh VI43 which is more fitted for Mandhata than for 

tAncient Indian historical traditions by P. E. Pargiter, p. 
266* Bramhanda Parana III-45.1. 

111.46-21 and 23. 


he begot on her ten sons and five daughters, the 
youngest of whom Raja-dhee.devi was married to 
a king of Avanti. She had two sons Vinda and 
Anuvinda, and a daughter named Matrivinda. In 
Mahabharata, Udyoga Parva, a mention is made of 
these two princes. They took the side of Kaurawas 
although their sister Matrivinda was married to 
Shree-Krishna. Who this king of Avanti was, to 
whome Rajadhee-devi was married, we cannot say. 
But his sons, Vinda and Anuvinda t were undoubt- 
edly contemporaries of Shrce-Krishna. Again, Shree- 
Krishna and Pandawas cannot be separated from 
each other, for, without the wonderful personality 
of Shree-Ktishna, the Mahabharata war would not 
have been what it is said to have been. This goes 
to prove that at the time of Mahabharata war, 
Avanti or Ujjain was ruled by the predecessor of 
Vinda and Anu-vinda. 

The date of the Mahabharata war is a subject of 
great controversy. It varies from 3 102 B.C, to 1 197 
B.C. According to the internal evidence in the 
Mahabharata itself, the war took place at the close of 
Dwaparayga and ended only three months before 
the advent of Kali-Yuga, as conceived by the Indian 
astronomers* The war ended in Murg-sheersha or 
December and by the end of March next, on the 
first of the bright half of Chaitra, Kali-Yuga began. 


Mr. CV. Vaidya, in his 'Upasinhara* of Mahabha- 
rat* and in his 4 Mahabharat a Criticism'! on the sup- 
port of the account given by Megasthenes and of the 
description given in 'Shatapatha-Brahmana 1 main- 
tains that Kaliyuga began 3101 years before Christ. 
All the Indian astronomers, except Varaha Mihirat 
are one with him and therefore, according to Mr. 
Vaidya, the Mahabharata war which was synchro- 
nous with the beginning of Kaliyuga, took place in 
8102 B C. 

The story of Shree-Krishn^, as given in Bhag* 
wata, corroborates what Mr. C. V. Vaidya asserts. 
It has now been admitted by all the research scho- 
lars, oriental as well as occidental, that Heracles of 
the Greek historian is no other than Hari Krishna or 
Shree- Krishna, Tho. description of Heracles, given 
by Greek historian? of India, who derived their infor- 
mation about the country at the court of Alexander 
and also from the now unfortunately lost work of 
Megasthenes, is quite enough to identify Heracles 
with Shree Krishna. Me Crindle,J on the authority 
of Megas henes, siys that from the time of Dionysus 
to Sandrakotas the Indians counted 153 kings and 

*Upftsanbar of Mahabharai by Mr. C. V. Vaidya, Page* 
10 to 129. 

tMababbarat a Criticism by Mr. C. V- Vaidya, Book 
II, Chapter I. 

iMo Crindle's Ancient India, Pages 201*204. 


that Dionysus was earlier than Heraclej by fifteen 
generations. He further says that Heracles 
was held in special honour by Shoorsena Indian tribes 
who possessed two large cities Mathura and Claiso- 
bora.* The laic Lokamanyaf B.C. Tilak identifies 
Dionysus with Daxinayana Manu and Heracles and 
Sandrakotas were undoubtedly Shree- Krishna and 

Since there were 153 generations from Diony- 
sus to Chandragupta and Dionysus was tif teen gene- 
rations earlier than Shree- Krishna, it follows that 
Shrec-Krishna preceded Chandragupta by 138 
generations. Taking twenty years as the average 
of each reign, we have an approximate period of 
2,760 years, separating the two. Chandragupta's 
date is 312 B. C. Adding 2,760 to 312 we get 3072 
B. C. as the approximate date of Shrec-Krishna. 
It very nearly tallies with the date of the Mahabha- 
rata war given by Mr. C. V. Vaidya and we are 
therefore inclined to accept it. We do not however 
want to enter into this controversy. We are content 
to say that, Ujjain at the time of the Mahabhirata 
war was ruled by a king of the family to which 
Vinda and Anu-vin:la belonged. 

*Claisobora or Klisotnra Gsaeral Cunningham identifier 
It with Binrtrawan. It was formerly called Krishcupara and 
the Greeks aaed to call it Claisobora. 

t \ftflfte * by Mr. C. V. Vaidya. 


In the Dharma-Sutra* of Bandhayana, we come 
across a passage which means that the inhabitants 
of Avanti, of Anga, of Magadha, of Saurastra, etc., 
are of mixed origin. From Puranas we know that 
the sons of Talajangha, the son of Jayadhwaja, 
formed the race of Haihayas which was divided into 
Bhojas, Avantas, Vitihotras, and other classes. They 
were certainly Aryans, but they appsar to have 
mixed with aboriginal non- Aryans. The time, when 
Baudhayana, lived, is placed sometime between 1400 
and SOO B. C. 

Panini, the great Sanskrit grammarian, makes 
mention of Avanti in hia 'Asta-dhyayi/t The time, 
when Panini lived, is a subject where no two 
scholars agree. It ranges from 1000 B. C. to 300 
o. C. Dr. Bhandarkar places him somewhere be* 
tween 1000 and 5UO B, C. Dr. Belwalkar places 
him before 700 B, C. The late Mr. Raj wade and 
Mr. C. V. Vaidya have coma to the conclusion that 

Dharma-Sntra of Baodhayana, 1-2*13. 

ti. *nrfStfRrf**TO 

\. **cHW^, etc. 
Panini's AsU-dbyayi, Sotrat IV-M76 and VL2-37. 


Panini lived some three hundred years before the 
death of Gautama Budha which took place in 477 
B. C. and by one century before the Parseekas 
ceased to be free-booters and founded a kingdom 
in Persia in 730 B. C. This places Panini in the 
eighth or ninth century B. C. 

Mr, Pococke, in his 'India in Greece' tells us 
on the authority of Strabo, that the Avantas distin- 
guished themselves in the Trojan war, and that 
Homer has nobly sung of their fame. He further 
says that Abantas were the splendid Rajput tribes 
of Avanti, or Ozene in the Province of Malwa. 'V 
and 'B 1 are pronounced indifferently in India and 
consequently the 'Abantas' of the Trojan war were 
no doubt the 'Awantas,' the people of Awanti 
or Ujjain. The lines* in Homer which Mr. Pococke 
referred, are : 

"Enboea next her martial sons prepares. 
And sends the brave Abantas to the wars." 
The Trojan war took place about 1201) B. C. 

Senajit of the Puru family, to which Dush- 
yanta, Ajameedha, Jarasandha, and Brihadratha be* 
longed, is said to have founded his kingdom at 
Awanti, and Mr. R. C. Datta places Senajit at 

*See Pope's translation of llliad Book, IK 


the end of the twelfth and in the beginning of 
the eleventh century B.C. He assigns 1105 B.C. as 
the date of the foundation of the kingdom of 
Awanti. Senajeet and his fourteen descendants 
successively ruled at Ujjain, The last scion of his 
dynasty was Ripunjaya* who was assassinated in 527 
B. C. by his minister Shunak who installed his own 
son Pradyota on the throne of Ujjain. 

India, at this time, was divided into sixteen 
kingdoms which were collectively called 'Shodasha 
Janapada.' Among these, Magadha, Kosala, Vatsa 
and Avanti were the principal and their capitals 
were respectively Rajagriha, Shravasti, Kaushambi 
and Awanti. They were all independent and some 
of them were republics which then went by the 
name of Gana. 

Pradyota ascended the throne of Ujjain in 527 
B. C. He was a contemporary of Gautama Budha, 
Mahavira and Bimbisar of Shishunaga dynasty. 
Pradyota was a follower of Vedic religion. He 
was brave and adventurous, but was cruel and 
destitute of good policy. He spread his political 

*Udayana and Ripunjaya bad a common ancestor in 
Para. Earn, the 26th descent from Pnru, had two sons 
Sndhanusha and Parikshit. Ripunjaya was 27th in descent 
from Sudhanusha and Udayana was 25th in descent from 


influence over all the princes around. Udayana, the 
king of Kaushambi, managed to remain independent. 
This, Pradyota could not bear, but he was, at the 
same time, afraid of Udayana' s prowess, and still 
more of the skill of his minister Yaugandharayana. 
Pradyota had, therefore, resort to an ambush. By 
a stratagem, he induced Udayana to go to a forest, 
accompanied by a few friends, and as soon as he 
was near enough to Ujjain, Pradyota's men fell 
upon him. Udayana put up a heroic fight, but the 
odds against him were heavy and he sank to the 
ground, exhausted and unconscious. Covered with 
wounds, he was taken to Ujjain. 

Pradyota, however, treated him with due respect, 
befitting his dignity, and he kept him in his own 
palace. Udayana was a master in the art of 
singing and music. Pradyota entrusted to him, the 
pleasant task of giving training to his daughter 
Vasawadutta in these fine arts. In the course of 
time, the teacher and the pupil became closely 
attached to each other. Their attachment gradually 
grew into love and with the help of his clever 
minister, Udayana managed to elope with Vasawa- 
dutta. Bhasa already makes this story the basis of 
his dramas Swapna-Wasavadutta and Pratidnya 
Yaugandharayana and later on Kalidas makes a 
mention of this episode in his Meghaduta. 


Daring the monarchy of Pradyota and his 
descendants, the city was well advanced in trade 
and commerce. The people were wealthy. Luxury 
and corruption, ever accompanists of wealth, 
prevailed among the rich. Gambling was not 
considered a vice and courtezans were not looked 
down upon in society. It was during the time of 
Palaka, Pradyota's successor, that Charudutta and 
Vasantasena, the hero and heroine of the famous 
drama, Mrit-Shakatika (toy-cart), lived at Ujjain. 
Palaka was not liked by the people and his rale 
ended in a tragedy. He was dethroned by Aryaka, 
who according to the author of the Toy-cart, belonged 
to Abhir family, but according to Dr. Bhandarkar, 
he was the nephew of Palaka. With Nandi- 
wardhana, the successor of Aryaka, the Pradyota 
dynasty came to end in 389 B. C. 

From what has been said above, it is evident 
that Ujjain, as revealed in classical literature, was 
a glorious city, and played its part nobly in the 
ancient history of India. 

Temple of Mahakal (Front view). 



IN the last chapter, we have given stray and uncon- 
* nected information about Ujjain which we could 
gather from ancient Indian literature. In this 
chapter, we propose to give the history of Ujjain 
from 286 B. C. to 1060 A. D. from the conquest 
of Ujjain by Bindusar to the end of the rule of 
Bhoja. It extends over a period of thirteen hundred 
years. It is a period of prosperity in the ascertained 
history of Ujjain. 

Bindusar, the son of Chandragupta of the 
Maurya dynasty, invaded Ujjain in 286 B.C. He kept 
Ujjain a separate province under the suzerainty of 
Magadha and transferred his son Ashoka from 
Taxashila to Ujjain as U pa- Raja or Viceroy. 

Ujjain, the capital of Western India, was equally 
famous and equally suitable as the seat of a Vicere- 
gal Government. Reckoned to be one of the sacred 
cities and standing on the road leading from the 
busy posts of the western coast to the markets of 


the interior, it combined the advantages of a favourite 
place of pilgrimage with those of a commercial depdt. 
The city was recognised as the headquarters of 
Indian astronomy and longitudes were computed 
from its meridian. Ashoka was residing at Ujjain 
when he was its Viceroy. In 273 B. C. Ashoka 
succeeded his father as the king of Pataliputra and 
kept one of his sons at Ujjain as Upa-Raja. In 
the 9th year of his reign in 264 B. C. he made a 
conquest of Kalinga and according to his thirteenth 
edict published by himself, it was the remorse and 
the pity aroused in his mind by the horrors of this 
war of conquest, that resulted in his conversion to 
Budhism. Before he embraced Budhism, he was 
out and out a follower of Vedic religion. He was 
well-known from his childhood for his religious 
trend of mind. 

From the localities in which we find his inscrip- 
tions, it appears that Ashoka's dominion extended 
from Kathiawar in the west, to Cuttack in the east 
and from Afghanistan, Punjab and the sources of 
the Jamna in the north, to Mysore, including the 
table-land of Deccan in the south. 

Ashoka was very keen on looking after the 
material interest of the people under his charge. 
Daring his time, Patna, Taxila, Allahabad and 
Ujjain were the principal towns under Maurya 


monarchy. They were governed by Panchayat 
system each town having six Panchayats each con- 
sisting of five officers with departments allotted to 
them. Besides, each of these towns had a municipal 
board consisting of thirty members. A system of 
medical aid was established by him throughout his 
kingdom. He founded so many rest houses for the 
poor and monasteries for Bauddha Bhikshas that 
his kingdom came to be called a land of monasteries 
or Vihar, now known as Bihar. He founded a 
college at Ujjain, where astronomy and astrology 
were taught as special subjects, and during his reign, 
Budhist gatherings were held at Uijain under his 
command every third year. 

Until Ashoka accepted Budhism, it was a 
religion for the poor and the lowly. It received 
royal patronage under him. But, he was not 
actuated by a sectarian spirit. Under his rule, 
Budhism, Jainism and the Vedic Hinduism flourished 
side by side and they were not at war with one 
another. There was a spirit of toleration among 
their followers. There was then a Budhist 
monastery at Ujjain called Dakshina-giri, where 
hundreds of Bhikshus used to live and there were 
also many big temples of Jain Tirthankars. Ashoka 
respected truth and his ethical discourses were 
acceptable to the followers of every religion. 


Under the rule of Ashoka, Ujjain attained 
the highest state of prosperity. The city was a 
great centre of Aryan culture and was renowned for 
its astronomical schools. It was also the centre of 
commerce. It was a chief market and the distri- 
buting centre for articles imported from and exported 
to other places, 'From Ozene,' says the author of 
the Periplus of the Erythrean Sea f 'every sort of 
commodity is brought down to Barugaza (Broach) 
which contributes to the supply of the country and 
many articles of foreign trade comprehending 
porcelain, fine muslins, wine, brass and tin, pass 
through Ozene for the inland. For, as long as 
there was a regular Hindu power at Ozene, the city 
seemed to be the natural metropolis of the country/ 
The trade of the ports on the western coast with 
the principal towns in the interior was transacted 
through the medium of Ujjain. Sea commerce was 
maintained with Mesopotamiya and Egypt, through 
Persian gulf and the Red Sea and the ports on the 
west coast were connected with Pataliputra, through 
Ujjain, the great emporium of the period. During 
Ashoka' s time, three roads were constructed and 
were connected with Ujjain. One was from 
Hyderabad (Sind) to Ujjain with a length of 500 
miles, another was from Broach to Ujjain, and its 
length was 300 miles, and a third from Patna to 


Ujjain via Bhilsa, Bharhut, Kosora and Benares,, 
and its length was 620 miles. The valuable cloth 
of Broach and the carved and engraved articles of 
Surat were imported first into Ujjain and therefrom 
sent to other towns in India. 

Many strange stories are told regarding this 
famous ruler. It is said, for instance, that he built 
two prisons, one at Patna and another at Ujjain, 
and the inmates therein were made to suffer the 
tormenting pains till they were dead. Yuan Chwang 
makes mention of these prisons but does not refer to 
tormenting pains, the inmates had to suffer. These 
stories in the words of Ramesh Chandra Dutt 'are 
absolutely unfounded and are invented to heighten 
the merit of Budhism by blackening the character 
of Ashoka before his conversion to that creed/ 

Ashoka was undoubtedly the most powerful 
sovereign of his time and the most remarkable and 
imposing ruler of India. 'If a man's fame/ says 
Koppen, 'can be measured by the number of hearts 
who revere his memory and by the number of lips 
who have mentioned and who still mention him 
with honour, Ashoka is more famous than Char- 
lemagne or Caesar. 1 

Ashoka died in 232-231 B. C. and a succession 
of weak monarchs followed his death. The great 


Empire began to break up slowly and with Brihad- 
ratha, the Maurya dynasty came to an end. Pushya- 
mitra,the Commander -in-Chief of Brihadratha, killed 
him on the occasion of a review of forces and 
ascended the throne of Pataliputra and thus 
Ujjain came under the Shunga dynasty in 184 B.C. 
During the reign of Pushyamitra, his son Agni- 
mitra was the Viceroy of Ujjain. He kept his 
headquarters at Bhilsa. Ujjain was still a place of 
learning, commerce and industries and its impor- 
tance suffered in no way. Pushyamitra is said to 
have performed Ashvamedha. Patanjali, in his 
Vyakarana Mahabhasya and Kalidasa in his Malavi- 
kagni-mitra, give a lucid description of this Ashwa- 
medha. Pushyamitra was succeeded by his son 
Agnimitra in 148 B. C. The reigns of Pushyami- 
tra and his son Agnimitra appear to mark a violent 
reaction against Budhism. The Shunga dynasty 
was short-lived. Devabhuti, the last of this 
dynasty, was murdered by his Minister Vasudeva, 
who founded a Kanwa dynasty at Pataliputra, but 
Ujjain, no more, remained under the sway of the 
Kanwa rale. About the same time, the Malawas 
of the Punjab invaded the country of Awanti and 
founded there a separate independent monarchy. 

The Malawas lived by the profession of arms 
and are identical with the valiant Malloi tribe con- 


quered by Alexander. They came to Ujjain 
through Rajputana and established their monarchy 
here in the first century B. C. No definite year of 
their conquest of Ujjain is on record. But the 
year 71 B. C. appears to be probable, for the 
Shunga dynasty was extinct in this year and the 
Kanwa dynasty had no sway over Ujjain. 

It is owing to the advent and settlement of 
Malawas here, that the country of Awanti came to 
be called Malwa. Nothing definitely can be said 
as to who was the first man of this tribe, who 
invaded Ujjain and settled here. But the tradition 
assigns this honour to Gandharvasena. The well, 
known traditional Vikramaditya belonged Gandhar- 
vasena's family. When did he succeed to Gandharva- 
sen or any of his descendants, and when did he 
come to throne, history does not know. History 
only records his succession on the throne of Ujjain 
shortly after Gandharvasena. 

Until Vikramaditya came to the throne, he is 
said to have travelled over a great part of the 
country in the habit of a mendicant devotee in order 
to acquire learning, arts and policy of foreign 
nations. Mr. Alexander Dow, in his history of 
Hindustan, depicts him as one of the most renown- 
ed characters in Indian history. 'In policy, justice 
and wisdom he had no equal.' 


The grandeur of Ujjain which was gradually 
increased by degrees, reached its zenith during the 
reign of Vikramaditya. It is said of him, that 
after the defeat of the first tribe of Shakas in the 
Punjab, he transferred the seat of his capital to 
Ujjain, from which time, it became the first 
meridian of the Hindu astronomy. 

The Malawas ruled at Ujjain for about a cen- 
tury. The last of the family was Gardabhila. He was 
defeated by a Shaka king, who established his own 
rule at Ujjain probably in 78 A. D. A legend, in 
Kalakacharya Kathanaka, tells us that during the 
first century A. D. there came to Ujjain, a Jain 
ascetic by name Kalakacharya. He was accompani- 
ed by a young and beautiful nun Saras wati. They 
lived together in a garden outside the town At that 
time, Ujjain was under the rule of Gardabhila. He 
was voluptuous. He happened to see Saraswati and 
managed to take her away into his Seraglio, 
Kalakacharya was much enraged and with the 
intention of taking revenge, he persuaded the 
Shaka Satraps of Gujarath and Kathiawar to invade 

The first prince of Shaka dynasty who invaded 
Ujjain and defeated Gardabhila belonged to Bac- 
trian Greeks. These Bactrian Kings ruled in different 


parts of India, long before the Kathiawar branch of 
Shakas came to Ujjain. They were *Yawanas and 
were called Satraps or fKshatrapas. We cannot say 
who was the first king of the Shaka dynasty who de. 
feated Gardabhila and established his rule at Ujjain. 
Among his successors Nahapana and Chastana 
were well-known. The Shakas ruled till 388 A. D. 
The last of the Shakas was Rudra-Sinha. He was 
given to excessive sexual pleasure and he took a fancy 
for a young and beautiful woman, Dhruwa-Devi, who 
however could not yield to him. Chandragupta II 
of the Gupta dynasty took the advantage of this 
love affair. He went to Ujjain, and in the disguise 
of Dhruwa-Devi, arranged an interview with Rudra- 
Sinha and while Rudra-Sinha, not suspecting the 
stratagem, was advancing towards his disguised be- 
loved, Chandragupta killed him and took possession 
of Ujjain, and thus in 388 A.D. Malwa was annexed 
to the Gupta empire. Bana in his 'Harsha Charita' 
gives a lucid description of this love episode and 

*The word 'Yawana' is etymoJogically the same as * Ionian* 
and originally meant 'Asiatic Greeks'. The oriental nations 
beard of the Greeks through Ionian traders and hence the 
word for Greeks in Sanskrit is Yawana. Panini first used it 
in the feminine form Yawanani. Since the second century 
A. D, the term had a vaguer signification and was employed 
to denote foreigners* 

tine word Satrap is of Persian origin and Ksbatrana is its 
Indianised form. 


Bhoja in his 'Shringara Prakasha 9 depicts Chandra- 
gupta as 'Devi Chandragupta.' 

Chandragupta assumed the title of Vikrama- 
ditya and made Ujjain his second capital, where he 
used to live in every summer. About this time, Fa 
Hian, a Chinese traveller, came to India and toured 
in Malwa, He describes Malwa as a country of 
'warm and equable climate. The people here are 
very well off, with very little official restrictions. 
They kill no living thing, nor drink wine. They 
have no Shambles or wine shops. 1 During this time, 
Budhism had a predominance over other religions, 
although Chandragupta himself was a follower of 
Vedic Hinduism. Under the Gupta dynasty, the 
Brahmanical revival took place, as is indicated by 
the Ashwamedha performed by Samudragupca. 
This Ashwamedha is pointedly spoken of as having 
gone out of use, for a long time. The Guptas were, 
as their coins show, the worshippers of Vishnu and 
followers of Vedic religion. 

After Skandagupta, the grandson of Chandra- 
Gupta II, the Gupta rulers began to lose ground and 
the Huns appeared on the scene. Their locust hordes 
spread over Persia and in northern India as far as 
Kanauj. The Mahabharata refers to Huns among 
whom polyandry prevailed. In the days of their 
dominance, the Huns were universally regarded as 
destroyers of civilization. They were warlike but 


hard-hearted. Love for children, sympathy towards 
women and respect to elders were unknown 'to them. 
On their coins were inscribed 'Jayatu-Vrisha-dhwa- 
jah' and this leads us to infer that they were Shaivas. 

During the reign of Narasinhagupta or Bala- 
ditya, the fourth in succession from Chandragupta 
II about 492 A, D., the Huns snatched Malwa from 
the dominion of the Guptas and established their 
suzerainty at Ujjain. The whole period of the 
tenancy of Malwa by the Huns under the leadership 
of Toramana and his son Mihirakula, did not amount 
to more than forty years. Their rule, though short, 
was a rule of oppression and anarchy. Under their 
rule, no one could call his house or wife, his own. 

In 533 A. D. Yashodharman of Mandsaur, 
defeated Mihirakula and annexed Ujjain. The 
rule of Huns thus came to an end. The pillar of 
victory erected at Mandsaur is in memory of this 
victory over the Huns, The Gupta dynasty again 
got hold of Ujjain but they were gradually losing 
ground, and Mahasenagupta, their Governor at 
Ujjain, declared himself independent about 600 
A.D. Mahasen was succeeded by his son Devagu pta. 
He invaded Kanauj, killed its king Grihawarman and 
kept his widow Rajyashree in jail. Rajyashree was 
the sister of Harsha Vardhan, king of Sthaneswar 
and Harsha, to revenge the death of his brother-in. 
law and the insult of his sister, defeated Devagupta 


and annexed Ujjain and Kanauj to his kingdom. 
Rajyashree was already out of jail and was living in 
a Budhist Vihara. Harsha found her oat and she 
lived with him. 

Harsha was a follower of Budhism. But Budh- 
ism was v at that time, on its way to decline. Yuan 
Chwang, who visited Ujjain about the same time 
tells us that excepting three or four repairable 
monasteries, containing a few Baudha Bhikshus, all 
other monasteries were in a ruined condition. The 
rule of Harsha and his successors over Ujjain was 
not long. They were followed by the Pratihara whose 
rule lasted till 9 46 A. D. 

Then followed the rule of the Parmaras. The 
Parmaras came from Abu and they invaded Malwa 
and established their monarchy at Ujjain in 946 
A. D. Among the rulers of Parmar family, Munjadeo 
and Bhoja were worthy of note. It is said of them, 
that they wielded both pen and sword with equal 
facility. Munja ruled from 973 to 997 and Bhoja 
from 1010 to 10HO A. D. The Pishacha Vimochana 
Ghat on the bank of the Sipra was constructed 
during the reign of Munja; while during the time of 
Bhoja, the temple of Mahakala was repaired and 
many additions were made to it. Bhoja removed 
his capital to Dhar. This removal of the capital left 
Ujjain unprotected and led to its downfall and ruin. 



I7ROM Jayasinha, the successor of Bhoja, to 
* Mohammad Shah, the last of the Mughal Em- 
perors, is a period of nearly seven hundred years 
extending from 1060 A. D. to 1732. It is a period 
of downfall and ruin, in the history of Ujjain. 

The successors of Bhoja ruled till 1290, but the 
seat of the capital being transferred to Dhar, during 
the reign of Bhoja, Ujjain remained undefended. 
Sultan Altamash of Delhi took advantage of this 
weak position, captured the city in 1235, pulled 
down the temple of Mahakala and destroyed the 
palaces, gardens and other places of importance. He 
took away with him to Delhi the golden image of 
Mahakala and every other thing of value that he 
could seize. He got a mosque erected on the very 
site of the old temple of Mahakala which he dev- 

In 1291 Jalal-ud-din Firoz Shah Khilji, the 
then ruler of Delhi, invaded Ujjain and plundered the 


city, and razed many temples to the ground. After 
two years, he invaded Malwa again and sacked the 
town. This plunder o Jalal-ud-din was closely 
followed by an impetuous pillage of the town by his 
nephew Ala-ud.din, on his way, to Deccan. These 
invasions, in quick succession, devastated the town 
and reduced it to the condition of a hell. Malwa 
remained under Khilji dynasty of Delhi from 1291 
to 1321 but their rule was a rule of destruction and 

Then followed the Tughlak dynasty which ruled 
at Delhi from 1322 to 1400 and Malwa remained a 
province under Delhi. In 1387 Dilawar Khan Ghori 
came to Ujjain as a Governor. He built the *Aam- 
Khas' palace here by the side of Rudra-Sagar, which 
can only be traced now by its ruins and he turned a 
Jain or Buddhist Vihar into a mosque, which is now 
known as 'Bina-niva-ki-masjid.' In 1398*99 Timur 
invaded Delhi when Tughlak dynasty was in a melt- 
ing pot. Taking advantage of this opportunity, 
Dilawar Khan declared himself independent as the 
Sultan of Malwa in 1401. His successor, Husang 
Shah, transferred the capital to Mandu about 140S. 
In 1435 Mohammad Shah, grandson lof Dilawar 
Khan, was poisoned by his minister Mohammad 
Khilji, who ascended the throne of the Sultans ol 


Malwa. Mohammad Khilji was brave, shrewd and 
diplomatic as well. During his time, the adminis- 
tration of Malwa was much improved. He died in 
1469 and was succeeded by Ghyas-ud-din. He was 
poisoned by his own son Nasir-ud-din, who declared 
himself as the Sultan in 1501. Nasir-ud-din was 
cruel, vicious and sensual. He was much hated 
for his acts of poisoning his own father. It was he 
who destroyed the temple of 'Surya' (sun) which 
existed midway in the streams of the river Sipra and 
built a water palace, on the same site f which now 
goes by the name of Kaliadeh. Nasir-ud-din generally 
used to live in this palace and one day, under in- 
toxication of liquor, he drowned himself in one of 
the water receptacles and ended his life in 1511. 
His son Mohammad succeeded him. In 1526, 
Bahadur Shah of Gujarath invaded Mandu, defeated 
Mohammad Shah, took him prisoner and subse- 
quently cut off his head at Dohad. Thus the 
independent kingdom of Malwa under the Khilji 
Sultans came to an end. From 1526 to 1535 
Malwa was a province under Bahadur Shah of 
Gujarath. In 1535 Humayun fought a battle with 
Bahadur Shah and snatched Malwa from his grip. 
But no sooner did Humayun turn his back upon 
Malwa, it was invaded by Mohammad Khan Kadar 
of Chanderi. It was however again restored to the 


Mughal Emperor of Delhi in 1543 and Sujawal 
Khan kept his capital at Ujjain and ruled Malwa 
on behalf of the Mughal Emperor till 1554. His 
rule was one of peace and order. He died in 
1554 and Baj Bahadur succeeded him. Baj 
Bahadur again transferred his capital from Ujjain 
to Mandu. He was the most accomplished 
musician and singer of the day. It is said of him, 
that in his court, 'the voice of music was never 
silent and his company was a levee of nightingales 
in a garden of roses'. He was very much enamoured 
of Rupamati, a beautiful girl of fifteen well versed in 
music. Many are the stories told of Rupamati's birth. 
Some say, she was a dancing girl of Sarangpore, 
Others tell us that she was the daughter of a Rathor 
king of Dharampuri, yet 4 of her beauty, her chastity 
and her skill in music, all say but one word 1 . Baj 
Bahadur married her and 'the sweet silent rhetoric 
of her persuading eyes' so much engrossed his mind 
that the administration of the province was left 
uncared for. Akbar came to know this and in 1562 
he invaded and took possession of Mandu. Baj 
Bahadur ran away and Rupmati quaffed a cup of 
deadly poison and 'carried her honour to the 
chamber of annihilation 9 . She died at Sarangpore 
at the age of 21 and her tomb is on the picturesque 
bank of Kali-sin dh a. 


In 1^64, Akbar transferred the seat of his 
governorship to Ujjain and he himself used to 
sojourn here during rainy season. Nothing important 
happened in the history of Ujjain, during the reigns 
of Akbar's successors till 1720 or 1722, when, in 
the reign of Mohammad Shah, Jaisinha, the Raja 
of Jaipur came to Ujjain as the Governor of Malwa. 
He founded the suburb known as Jaisinhapura and 
built an observatory just near it on the bank of 

During the next ten years, Malwa was formally 
under the Mughal rule; but the Mughal power began 
to wane and could not withstand the inroads of 
Marathas from the Deccan. The Mughal ruler 
therefore had to relinquish his suzerainty and the 
Peshwa became the supreme power in Malwa in 
1732. He divided the territory among his three 
Subhedars, Scindia, Holkar and Pawar, Ujjain 
and a part of Malwa fell to the lot of Ranoji Scindia. 



OM Subhedar Ranoji to Maharaja Madhav Rao 
Scindia, may be called the period of revival in 
the history of Ujjain. It extends over two hundred 
years from 1732 to 1925, In 1690, the Maratha 
horses crossed the Narbada for the first time. They 
made repeated attacks in 1702 and again in 1705. 
They invaded the country as far as Ujjain, Mand- 
saur and Sironja but could not make any substantial 
acquisition. In 1717 they again came and settled 
here. They got a firm footing in a part of Malwa. 
In 1723, the Nizam, the then Governor of Malwa, 
under Mughals, retired and Scindia got Ujjain. In 
1725, under orders of Peshwa Baji Rao I, Scindia 
began to collect Chauth in Malwa, and in 1728 he 
acquired more territory around Ujjain. But with all 
this success, the Marathas held no suzerainty over 
Malwa. They had still to wait. 

By this time the Mughal power began to wane. 
The short reigns of many kings and the frequent 


quarrels among the members of royal family made 
Mughal Emperors puppets in the hands of their 
ministers. The Empire was in the last stage of 
feebleness and was consequently ready to welcome 
any strong invader. Such invaders came from the 
south and they were the Marathas. They chose to 
rule the destiny of Malwa and Mohammad Shah 
had to resign the suzerainty over Malwa in favour of 
Peshwa, In 1732, the Peshwa Baji Rao I, got the full 
possession of Malwa, and he divided the territory 
among his three Subhedars Scindia, Holkar and 
Pawar. Ranoji established his power over Ujjain, 
and a part of Malwa was assigned to him by a 
Sanad, granted on 26th July 1732. 

Ranoji made Ujjain, the seat of his Subhedar- 
ship. But he had always to remain outside to fight 
battles on behalf of the Peshwas and could not 
therefore pay due attention to the administration of 
the territory under his charge. His Dewan, 
RamchandraMalhar Sukhtankar popularly known as 
Ramchandra Baba, lived at Ujjain and was in sole 
charge of the administration. Ramchandra Baba 
restored peace and order and tried to improve the 
condition of Ujjain as far as money could allow 
him. He built the present temple of Mahakala and 
repaired all the temples and sacred spots in and 


around Ujjain, that were then in a dilapidated 
condition. The Ramghat and Narsinha-ghat, on the 
bank of the river Sipra, have been built during his 
time; so in spite of the fact that Ranoji Rao had 
to live always in camp, he did not ignore the 
capital of his territory. 

Ranoji died in July 1745 near Shujalpore. He 
had courage and daring and with these qualities 
of the heart, he raised himself from the position 
of a Bargir to that of the highest nobleman and 
was looked upon as a strong prop of the Maratha 
Power, in the Deccan. He was succeeded by his 
eldest son Jayappa who was killed by fraud at Nagore. 
Jayappa was succeeded by his son Jankoji. 
Jankoji lost his life in the great battle of 
Panipat, Mahadji, the youngest son of Ranoji and 
the only survivor in the direct descent, was now 
entitled to succeed to the State. His adversaries at 
Poona tried to deprive him of his ancestral right 
alleging him to be illegitimate. The Peshwa how- 
ever gave decision in his favour. 

Mahadji, popularly called Patil Baba, succeeded 
to his ancestral State in 1761. He was warlike and 
diplomatic. During his time the political divisions 
of the territory into Districts and Parganas were 
made and the system of administering justice was 


established by the appointment of an assembly of 
arbitrators. The time of Patil Baba was in fact, 
the time of friction among Marathas, Rajputs, 
Mohammadans and English. Patil Baba and his 
Commander-in-Chief, Jivba Dada, whom he brought 
with him from Poona and who was his trusted coU 
league, fought several battles with Rohillas, Rajputs, 
Sikhs and others, from Patiala in the north to Mysore 
in the south. Mahadji extended his territory as far 
as the southern bank of the Jamuna by annexing the 
provinces of Agra, Mathura and Gwalior. During 
the time of Mahadji Scindia, Ujjain played the part 
of a pivotal point in the political history of India. 
The name of Mahadji Scindia is well-known. With- 
out him, the modern history of India of the Mughal 
and Maratha periods is incomplete. 

In war and in peace, in diplomatic negotiations 
and in every important affair of the State, whether 
in connection with the Emperor of Delhi or with the 
Peshwa of Poona, Patil Baba was always consulted 
and his opinion was held supreme. He ruled the 
destinies of both, the Mughals and the Peshwa s. He 
was a successful warrior and a shrewd diplomatist. 
4 He was now, by far,' says Col Malleson, 'the most 
powerful Prince of the Marathas. There was none, 
who could even be called his second, and it was 


evident from his great genius and the irresistible 
power he had acquired, that he would soon be the 
virtual head of the Maratha people and the ruler of 
the greatest part of India'. But such things were 
not destined to be. While he was contemplating 
his dream of future glory, he was attacked with 
violent fever which terminated his life at Wanavadi 
(neanPoona) on the 12th February 1794. 

Mahadji's whole life was spent in warfare in. 
upper India and he remained only for a short time 
at Ujjain. But Ujjain, under Mahadji, was rich and 
flourishing. Mallet, the European traveller, who 
visited Ujjain in 1785, describes Ujjain as a town of 
beautiful buildings and a central market of grains, 
cloths, fruits and vegetables. 

On the death of Mahadji, Daulat Rao, his adop- 
ted son, succeeded him. During his time, Ujjain 
was twice looted by Malhar Rao Holkar of Indore. 
This calamity and the removal of capital to Gwalior 
in 1810, hindered the progress of Ujjain, till Bayja 
Bai, widow of Daulat Rao, made Ujjain the abode of 
her residence during the minority of Jayaji Rao. 
Bayja Bai lived at Ujjain from 1847 to 1856 and 
during her stay here, she built a beautiful temple* 
of Shri-Krishna in the heart of the city known as 
Gopal Mandir and another temple on the Pishacha- 


vimochan Ghat, of the river, known as her owr* 
Chhatri. In her time, Patni Bazar, Sabzi Mand* 
and SarafFa were in the most flourishing condition. 
Many of the religious festivities and processions, 
that are still in vogue in connection with Mahakala, 
Gopal Mandir and Sipra Ghats have their origin it* 
her religious faith, From the time, when Bayja 
Bai left Ujjain in 1856 to the time when Maharaja 
Madhav Rao Scindia assumed full powers in the 
administration of the State, there was a period of lull* 
in the history of Ujjain. 

Maharaja Madhav Rao was, however, keenly 
interested in the welfare of his subjects and he. 
spared no pains in making improvements, in every 
branch of administration. As far as public health, 
and public welfare are concerned, Ujjain made- 
much improvement during his time. The first and 
the foremost of his noble gifts to Ujjain, is that 
of pure and fresh water-supply. Ujjain though 
situated on the bank of a river, had not the advan- 
tage of ample and pure supply of water. The river 
grows thin in every summer and cholera used ta 
appear inevitable almost every year. This calamity 
was averted by the construction of water works* 
in 1906. The widening of the streets, the construc- 
tion of many new roads, the supply of electria 


light, the club and the hotel are some of the many 
endowments of Maharaja Madhav Rao. The repairs 
of the observatory, originally built by Raja Jaisinha 
of Jaipur, during his governorship of Malwa, the 
repairs of the Mahakala Temple and the repairs and 
additions to Kaliadeh Mahal are to his credit and 
indicate his keen desire to preserve and improve anti- 
quities; the college, the hospital and the municipal 
board are the new institutions founded during his 
reign. Much more was expected from him, But alas I 
God ordained otherwise. In April 1925, he ailed for 
England, but before he could reach London, the 
drama of his chequered life came to an abrupt close, 
and at Paris on the 5th of the following ]une f he 
made his final exit from the stage of the world. His 
son Jayaji Rao succeeds him. 



\Y/E have said in the second chapter that Ujjain 
has its existence since before .%000 years. But 
the modern town of Ujjatn, as it is now, differs in 
many respects, from the ancient Avantika or Ujjayini. 
The sites of the ancient and modern towns are not 
identical. The former is at a short distance to the 
north of the latter, extending along the right bank 
of the river Sipra, and being on a high ground level, 
popularly known as 'Garh.' The area around 
the Mahakala temple was formerly called Mahakala- 
wana and was to the south of the ancient town. In 
fact, the town and forest of old have mutually ex- 
changed their places. What was once a Mahakala. 
wana is now, the modern town, and the ancient 
town has been changed into a waste. 

Some time, during the pre-historic days, the 
ancient city of fame, or at least, a greater part of it 
appears to have been destroyed by earthquake or an 
unusual flood on the river. On the northern side of 
the modern town, traces of the old foundations are 


still clearly visible. It is called 4 Garh' or old Ujjam 
and numerous antiques, such as beads, seals, orna- 
ments and coins are found here after a little digging. 
The various elevated portions, we now see in and 
around the modern town, contain the ruins of some 
old buildings and temples. 

A few years ago, there was some digging in a 
house near Mahakala, where many copper and silver 
coins and two pieces of stone inscriptions were found. 
The stone inscriptions, no doubt, seem to have some 
connection with the old temple of Mahakala which 
was destroyed by Sultan Altamash of Delhi in 1235, 
for the colour of the stone and the letters on them 
closely correspond to the colour and to the letters on 
an old piece of inscription on an old temple stone, 
built up in the present temple. In the same way, 
only two years ago, while digging an old house, on 
the side of Rudra Sagar, a Shiva-linga with a Sha. 
lunka was found some twenty feet below the ground 
and it still exists there. 

These discoveries naturally lead us to believe that 
a great part of the old temple still lies buried under 
ground at a place where the new temple has been 
built and that many antiques are likely to be found 
under a place which now goes by the name of 'Kota'. 
Col. Luard struck a true note when he said that 


* a scientific excavation would certainly yield interest, 
ing results/ and there is no doubt that excava- 
tions made in the right direction under the super- 
vision of an expert archaeologist will certainly bring 
to light many interesting results in the shape of 
antiquities which will give a clue to the ancient 
history of the place. 

In spite of the disastrous effects of earthquake 
or flood whichever it might be, Ujjain regained its 
grandeur and was at the height of its glory, till the 
middle of the twelfth century A. D. Since the time 
of Ashoka in the third century B. C. to the time 
when Bhoja transferred his capital to Dhar, Ujjain 
continued to flourish in every way. It resumed 
commerce and again continued to be a centre of 
trade and industry. It connected Broach, Cambay 
and other principal ports on the west coast with 
the principal markets in the interior. 'The trade 
export and import of the Surat District,' says Mr. 
Rawlinson, 'was immense. The export included the 
various Indian spices, muslins and precious stones, 
while the imports included unguents, singing boys 
and choice girls for the royal harem. The exports 
and imports were carried through Ozene'. 'There 
was a great business here in costly jewellery, there 
were the magnificent palaces of royal and wealthy 


families. There were big mansions of the learn- 
ed and the noble, and the city was adorned by 
beautiful gardens, spread all around. All this gave 
indescribable beauty and splendour to the town'. 
Such is the description of the city given by foreign 
travellers, who saw Ujjain during those days. 

The grandeur and riches of Ujjain find expres- 
sions in the grand description of the city by 
Kalidasa in Meghaduta. His verses, as translated by 
Prof. Wilson are given below for the curious readers : 

"Behold the city whose immortal fame 
Glows in Avantika's or Vishala's name 
Renowned for deeds that wrath and love inspire. 
And bards to paint them with poetic fire. 
The fairest portion of celestial birth 
Of Indra's paradise transferred to earth, 
The last reward to acts austerest given 
The only recompense then left to heaven, 
Here as the early zephyrs wash along 
In swelling harmony, the woodland song, 
They scatter sweetness from the fragrant flower 
That joyful opens to the morning hour. 
With friendly zeal, they sport around the maid 
Who early courts their vivifying aid 
And cool from Sipra's jetted waves, embrace 
Each languid limb and enervated grace.' 9 


Surely Yaksha had good reasons to ask the 
cloud not to pass on without a visit to this ancieru 
town of fame. 

But alas I all this grandeur is now a fact of the 
past. The days of wondrous plenty are gone to come 
no more. As stated already, Sultan Altamash of the 
slave dynasty made a sudden attack on Ujjain in 
1235 and devastated the whole town. He pulled down 
the grand temple of Mahakala and took away all the 
valuable jewellery. In 1291 and again in 1293, during 
the reign of Jalal-ud-din Firoz Shah, the capture of 
the town called 'Jhain' is mentioned. It is difficult 
to determine whether this is certainly Ujjain or not, 
but the description undoubtedly points to it; and the 
destruction of the town, due to the devastation, made, 
in the words of the historian, "a hell of paradise ". 
Firoz Shah's invasion was shortly followed by a cam- 
paign by his nephew Ala-ud-din who again devasta- 
ted Ujjain and robbed the inhabitants of what little 
they had. Upon the peace of the fair land of Ujjain, 
rich in soil and highly flourishing, broke these repeated 
storms and it was laid waste by Mahomedan barba- 
rians. Ujjain then knew neither peace nor settled rule. 
It was stripped of all its glory and the importance of 
the place, as a commercial centre, came to an end. 
These three invasions are more responsible for the 


destruction of the town than the forces of nature 
earthquake and flood that wrought havoc in the 
pre-historic period. 

But those evil days passed and Ujjain is again 
under a Hindu rule, Since 1732, when Ujjain 
came under Maharaja Scindia, some of its old gran- 
deur was restored. Ruined temples were rebuilt; 
large buildings were constructed, roads were widened 
and lighted, and trade is being encouraged. Thus 
the city developed itself until it became as it is 
now. Though the town dates its existence back to 
pre-historic time, it has been so changed under the 
Hindu and Mahomedan rulers that practically, 
the modern town has lost all relationship to the 
ancient city so highly praised in ancient literature * 
The city retains its name but not the grandeur. 

"Compare Khare Shastri's description of Ujjain: 

f fa ftg (f*TO) 13$ $8 JT 

3*gcTT %5 ttff 

His late Highness Maharaja Madhav Rao Scindia. 



HPHE problem of Shaka and Samwat eras is one 
A of the enigmas of history. As the names are 
current now, the Shaka era is called the 'Shalivahana 
Shaka' and the Samwat era is called the 'Vikrama 
Samwat'. But who Shalivahana and Vikrama were, 
is a matter of great controversy. Fortunately f their 
starting points are accepted by all as 78 A. D. and 
57 B. C. We here propose to examine the different 
theories advanced by scholars with a view to solve 
this mystery. 

Sir Vincent Smith holds that the Shaka era 
was started by the Shaka king Kanishka. Kanishka's 
accession is supposed by him to have taken place 
in 78 A, D. But Mr. Rawlinson points out that the 
date of the accession of Kanishka is not 78 A. D^ 
and that the first Shaka monarch was Kadphises I r 
who ruled from 40 to 78 A. D. and Kadphises II 
succeeded him in 78 A. D. Thus, according to Mr. 
Rawlinson, the Shaka era was founded not by 
Kanishka but by Kadphises II But this surmise 


of Mr. Rawlinson cannot be supported, as Kadphises 
II was not so great a monarch as to found an era 
and generally it may be objected that this Shaka 
family ruled in the Punjab and had little connection 
with Ujjain. We may therefore give up the theory 
that the Shaka era was founded either by Kanishka 
or by Kadphises IL 

Another theory about the founding of Shaka 

era is that it was founded by a king of Andhra- 

bhritya line of Paithan in the Deccan. The Shaka 

rulers of Ujjain had constant fights with the 

Seitawahan-changed into Shalivahana later-kings of 

Paithan. According to Sir R, G. Bhandarkar, 

Chastana was a contemporary of Pulumayi or 

Gautamiputra, who ruled Pratisthan modern 

Paithan. Satawahan was the family name of this 

fifae of Shaka rulers. This Gautamiputra Satawahan 

was the son born of a woman living in the house of 

a potter at Paithan. Jayadaman, son of Chastana, 

who succeeded him on the throne of Ujjain, 

observing the growing power of Gautamiputra, 

attacked him. But he was defeated and was 

pursued by the victorious Gautamiputra into his 

own dominions. Gautamiputra subjugated Avanti 

and dethroned Jayadaman. For a time Gautami- 

patra and his successors held sway over Ujjain, 


performed Ashwamedha and continued the Shall- 
vahana era at Ujjain already founded by their pre- 
decessor at Paithan. 

This account merely suggests that the Shaka 
era of 78 A. D. was founded by some predecessor 
of Gautamiputra. Who that predecessor was and 
for what exploit he founded this era is nowhere 
apparent. There is no mention of it in any 
inscription or document. Gautamiputra who 
conquered Ujjain could not have founded it, as he 
was the contemporary of Jayadaman and hence his 
date comes about 150 A. D. So far as we know, 
there is no record or mention in the inscriptions 
of the Satawahan family of Paithan about the 
founding of the Shaka era. 

The late Mr, V. K. Rajwade, the renowned 
researcher in Marat ha history, has formulated, a 
theory of his own, which tries to explain why the 
Shaka era, is current in the Deccan, and he argues 
that the people of Maharashtra, who used the 
Shaka era even in religious ceremonies, could not 
have patronised an era, founded by Shakas or 
Scythians. He suggests that the era was called the 
Shaka era because it was founded by Shakasena in 
memory of a defeat of the Shakas, who had invaded 
Maharashtra about 78 A. D. 


The theory is ingenious, no doubt. But there 
are strong arguments which militate against this 
theory. The first is that until about the thirteenth 
century, astronomical Sanskrit works, which un- 
doubtedly use this era, describe it as the era of the 
Shaka kings. Even Bhaskaracharya, the great 
Maharashtrian Astronomer, who lived in the 12th 
century A. D., calls it the era of the Shaka kings, 
as also some inscriptions found in Maharashtra, so 
describe it. Secondly, the Shaka kings of Ujjain, 
though foreigners by origin, were devout Hindus 
and worshipped the Mahakala as stated in their ins* 
criptions. The name Shakasena no doubt occurs in 
Satawahan's line, though not about 78 A. D. And 
lastly, the records of the Satawahan kings, after 
Shakasena, do not use this era. Indeed, all the 
inscriptions of the Satawahan kings, including those 
of Gautamiputra, are without any era at all, 

We next come to the theory that the Shaka 
era was founded by some king of the time of 
Shaka rulers of Ujjain to which Chastana belongs. 
The history of these Shaka kings in Malwa is 
well -known and practically without any controversy. 
We learn from Ptolemy that Tiastenese ruled at 
Ozene. This Tiastenese is Chastana and Ozene is 
Ujjain. His date of the rule at Ujjain is thus about 


120 A. D. The founder of the era of 78 A. D. 
must be some previous Shaka king and as we have 
already stated, the ruler of the dynasty, to which 
Vikrama of Ujjain belongs, ended with Gardbhil 
about 78 A, D. It must have been overthrown by a 
king of the Shaka line who founded this era in 
memory of his conquest of Ujjain in Malwa. We 
have records of three Shaka invasions of the 
Punjab, Mathura and Kathiawar. In the last, the 
Shakas must have defeated Gardbhil and settled 
in Malwa. 

We look upon this theory about the founding 
of Shaka era as the most probable one, because, we 
have an inscription of Rudra-Daman, a successor of 
Chastana, found in Junagarh and dated as early as 
72 of the Shaka era which corresponds with 150 
A. D. A king of this line would not have used an 
era founded by some other line of kings and in some 
other part of India. This inscription of Rudra- 
Daman in Junagarh is well-known and records the 
construction of a big lake by Rudra-Daman, king 
of Ujjain. If this theory is accepted, then we can 
safely say that, though the exact name of the 
founder of the Shaka era has not yet been ascer- 
tained, the view that it was founded in memory of 
the conquest of Ujjain by a Shaka king who defeated 


Gardbhil about 78 A. D. seems to be the most 
plausible one. 

The Samwat era of o7 B. C. is equally, with 
the Shaka era, a subject of controversy and 
difference of opinion among scholars. Its present 
name is Vikrama Samwat, which is a later name 
like Shalivahana Shaka. The first inscription 
which gives the modern name Vikrama Samwat is 
that of Dholpur dated 842 A. D. Inscriptions 
earlier than this contained the name of 'Malava' 
only, for instance, * Malava- Gana.Sthiti\ These 
inscriptions, no doubt, have properly been assigned 
to the Vikrama Samwat, though, they do not 
mention who started it and when. They are 
consistently explained when referred to Vikrama 
Samwat. But scholars differently interpret the 
words 'Gana' and 'Sthiti 7 . Dr. Fleet translates the 
phrase as reckoning from the tribal constitution of 
Malavas taking the word 'Gana' in its most usual 
sense of tribe. Dr. D. R. Bhandarkar takes the 
word 'Sthiti 9 in the sense of usage and according to 
him the phrase means the usage of the Malava 
tribe. Dr. Kielhorn takes the word 'Gana 1 in the 
sense of reckoning and thus translates the phrase 
'according to the reckoning of the Malavas ' Dr. 
Thomas and Sir R, G. Bhandarkai take the word 


'Gana' in the sense of corporation and infer front 
the above expression that the era of 57 B. C. date* 
from the foundation of the tribal independence of 
the Malava as a 'Gana' or body corporate. We 
think that the expressions 'Gana 1 and 'Sthiti' 
only indicate the usage of people who were 
'Gana 1 or democratic without kings. The word 
*Gana' constantly appears in this sense in the. 
Mahabharata, and we know from the invasions of 
India by Alexander that there were, in his time,, 
many tribes in the Punjab which were democratic 
and the Malloi or Malavas were one of them. 
Therefore, the expression above noted, in whatever 
manner the words 'Gana' and 'Sthiti 1 be interpreted, 
cannot give us any further information than that 
the era was used by Malava democratic tribe. 
There is no indication in them as to who founded 
the era and what incident it commemorated. 

Here it may be noted that within a century of 
the downfall of Maurya Empire, a number of non- 
monarchical states founded their political corporation 
in India and the Malavas were one of them. In- 
Rajputana, in the territory of Jaipura, in a village 
by name Nagor, about 6,000 coins were found some 


time ago. These coins were inscribed *'Jai Mala- 
vanam.' The very fact that coins were issued in 
the name of a tribe and not of a king, and further 
that in some cases, the word 'Gana' is used along 
with the tribal name* leaves no doubt on the point. 
:Some of these political corporations possessed great 
power and resources and extended their sway over 
a vast tract of the country. The Malavas and 
Yaudheyas, among them, stood as bulwark against 
the intrusions of foreign invaders. The Malavas 
fought against the forces of Nahapan. They were 
important factors till the end of the fourth century 
A. D. The decline of these corporations and the 
transition of some of them into monarchical states 
may be ascribed to invasions from without and the 
growth of the Gupta Empire within. 

^Certain coins found at Nagor having on them the inscrip- 
tion Malavanam Jaya the Victory of the Malavas are 
;tanging in characters according to General Cunningham- 
from 250 B. C to 250 A. D. These coins show that the 
Malavas existed, as a recognised and important class, long 
before the time when their 'tribal constitution,' which led to 
'the establishment of their era, took place. Again their men- 
tion in the Allahabad pillar inscription, among the tribes 
subjugated by Samudra Gupta, show that down to his time, 
at least, they maintained their tribal constitution and impor- 
tance. Corpus Incriptionum Indicarum by Dr. Fleet 
Vol. III. 


From the account of the Malavas given above, the 
suggestion that one of their leaders conquered Ujjain 
from the Viceroy of the Shunga or Kanwa dynasty 
appears to be plausible. But in that case, too, the 
foundation of the Samwat era cannot be attributed to 
Vikramaditya for the Malavas conquered Malwa 
under the leadership of Gandharvasen, who preced- 
ed Vikramaditya about 71 B. C. 

Popular tradition assigns Vikramaditya as the 
founder of era simply because, he was a great con- 
queror and subjugating the whole of northern India 
became the master of the whole of India north of the 
Narmada with Ujjain as his capital Many Euro, 
pean scholars, to quote Mr. Vincent Smith for in- 
stance, doubt the very existence of this traditional 
Vikramaditya and suggest that Chandra Gupta II 
of the Gupta dynasty took the title of Vikramaditya 
and had a better claim than any other sovereign to 
be regarded as the original of the mythical king of 
that name who figures so largely in Indian legends. 
They also suggest that Chandra Gupta II after the 
conquest of the Shaka kings of Malwa changed the 
name of Malava era into that of Vikrama era. We 
shall discuss the question whether Chandra Gupta II 
was first Vikramaditya, elsewhere, but here we 
must say that the theory that he changed the Malava 


era into Vikrama era is quite unacceptable, as the 
era was still called Malava era, even in the days of 
Chandra Gupta, as also after him, throughout the 
Gupta period; and, secondly, a conqueror does not 
care to use an old era or antedate his own exploits; 
and lastly there was a separate Gupta era, already 
in existence founded by the predecessor of Chandra 
Gupta. Chandra Gupta II had therefore no reason 
to change the name of the era already founded by 
the Malava tribe. 

Another theory is that Azes I founded the era of 
57 B.C. and that also in the Punjab. The Cambridge 
history of India attributes the foundation of Malava 
era to the accession of Azes I. But Azes I ascend- 
ed the throne in 50 B. C. and not in 57 B. C. and 
again he did not belong to Malava tribe. 

An inscription of Ganda Phares, a Parthian 
king, has been found in the north-west of the Pun- 
jab which gives the date 103 and also the regal 
year 21. Early Christian tradition mentions that 
St. Thomas, one of the twelve disciples of Jesus 
Christ, came to India to preach Christianity and 
was killed in the court of a Parthian king. Dr. 
Fleet first pointed out that the year 103 should be 
taken to refer to the Malava era of 57 B. C. It was 
in his court, therefore, that St. Thomas must have 


preached, as Jewist tradition asserts. The era of 
57 B. C. therefore was used in the Punjab at so an- 
cient a date as 46 A. D. though the word Malava is 
not used in the inscription, the year mentioned there- 
in certainly refers to Malava era or the era founded 
by the Malavas and it probably dates from the tribal 
independence of the Malavas. Mr. C. V. Vaidya calls 
it Vikrama Samwat, but, the word Vikrama is not 
mentioned in the inscription. In fact, the story of 
Ganda Phares does not enable us to jump to any 
conclusion regarding the foundation of Malava era. 

In conclusion, there is evidently, no evidence 
to prove that the Samwat era was founded by the so 
called traditional king Vikramaditya I of Ujjain. 
Nor is it proved that it came to be called Vikrama 
Era after Chandra Gupta II of the Gupta dynasty 
who assumed the title of Vikramaditya. We admit 
the existence of Vikramaditya I, as the king of 
Ujjain and we also admit that he ruled at Ujjain 
some time about the first century B. C. But the 
year of his birth or coronation is still unknown to us. 
Nor do we know any of his significant victories 
which took place in 57 B. C., the year of the founda- 
tion of the era. Further the era is not discovered 
with the word 'Vikrama 1 associated with it, till the 
time of Dholpur inscription of 842 A. D. By 


this time, the line of the first Vikramaditya was 
extinct and the Gupta dynasty, to which second 
Vikramaditya belonged, was not the ruling power. 
We are therefore unable to say that Vikramaditya I 
of the first century B. C. founded the Samwat 
era. Nor are we inclined to say that Vikrama era 
was named after Vikramaditya II in memory of his 
conquest. Why the Malava era came to be called 
Vikrama era, is still a matter of suspended judgment, 

From epigraphical records, we know, as we 
have stated above, that the earliest date which 
contains the word 'Vikrama' describes the era 
somewhat vaguely as Vikrama Kala or time of 
Vikrama. In the Gyaraspur inscription of 880, we 
have the words, 4 Malava Kalat-Sharadam 1 'where the 
word 'Sharat* (autumn), the beginning of Malava 
year, is intended to denote the whole of the year. 
Bana calls, 'Sharat 7 as Vikrama Kala, the season 
when kings and warriors started to perform deeds of 
bravery and to win victories and in this he follows 
all his predecessors down from Valmiki, who in 
Ramayana calls, 'Sharad' as the busy time of kings 
and warriors desirous of winning victories. Thus it 
seems that the poets were accustomed to speak of 
Sharad* as 'Vikrama Kala' and to describe the word 
Sharad 1 a year as 'Vikrama Kala 7 was only 


a logical consequence. The usage of the poets *would 
have led to the employment of the terms 'Vikrama 
Kala', 'Vikrama-Samwatsar' season of victory, the 
very terms we meet with in earlier inscriptions, 
But owing to lack of sufficient decisive evidence, we- 
cannot speculate any further than this. 

Valmiki Ramayana, 



Kalidasa who ranks foremost among all Indian 
poets, is a well-known figure in the history of 
Sanskrit literature. Not only has he received his 
due share of encomium from his countrymen, bat 
he has been picked up by the western scholars and 
applauded with fervour and enthusiasm which he 
rightly deserves. Heaps of praises have been shower- 
ed upon him by western critics. Cowell calls him 
the 'Virgil of India'. Sir William Jones describes 
him as the 'Shakespeare of India'. Goethe expatiates 
on Kalidasa's famous drama thus: 

"Woulds't thou the young years 7 blossoms 

and the fruits of its decline ; 
And all by which the soul is charmed, 

enraptured, feasted, fed ? 
Woulds't thou the earth and the heaven itself 

in one soul name combine ? 
I name thee, Oh Shakuntala ; 

and all at once is said". 










It is but natural for us to enquire in what age, 
did this brightest star of poetry shine and what part 
of the country could claim to be his birthplace. 
The task is by no means an easy one. Like many 
earlier poets, Kalidasa refrains from giving any 
reference to himself in his works, nor does he 
present his pedigree-table before his audience. 
Like a star he shines but speaks not of himself. 
Kalidasa was a national poet. He sang the glory of 
the whole nation, and thus the task of discovering 
his birthplace is beset with difficulties, which can 
only be overcome by the patient and critical study 
of his writings and by a skilful handling of the 
extensive materials that we find here and there in 
the ancient records of India* Several scholars have 
put forth their own theories, both as regards his 
birthplace and time and we will now examine 
them according to our best light. 

We will first take up the subject of his birth- 
place. One tradition points to Dhar and another 
to Ujjain as the birthplace of Kalidasa. But 
neither of these views is supported by any inde- 
pendent evidence. No doubt, Kalidasa shows his 
intimate acquaintance with Ujjain, but this intimacy 
can be explained by his long residence there and 
it need not be his birthplace. 


Harprasad Shastri suggests that Kalidasa be* 
longs to Dashapur, on the ground that he gives a 
detailed description of Dashapur and the country 
around it in his Meghaduta and even makes men- 
tion of an unimportant temple of * Skanda ' in the 
vicinity of Dashapur. Kalidasa recommends the 
cbud to halt there during its progress to 4 Alaka ' 
and on the basis of a mention of the familiar and 
sportive glances of the ladies of Dashapur, he 
concludes that Kalidasa was a native of Dashapur, 
modern Mandsaur in western Malwa. But it must 
be borne in mind that temples of 'Skanda' are very 
rare in India and Kalidasa naturally makes mention 
of the temple of 'Skanda' near Mandsaur, because 
it was the only one on Yaksha's way to 'Alaka 1 . 
Again familiarity with the sportive glances of the 
ladies of the town does not necessarily lead to the 
conclusion that the town was the birthplace of the 
poet. Kalidasa has given more or less detailed and 
accurate descriptions of many other places but none 
of them need be his birthplace. 

A writer in the 'Prawasi' affirms that Kalidasa 
was a Bengali, because the poet in Meghaduta 
begins with 'Ashadha', a month with which the 
Bengali calendar commenced some time ago. But 
the poet begins Rutu-Sanhar with Jyeshtha. Again 


Kalidasa's style is not ' Gaudy ' and he does not write 
in that florid style which belongs to Bengalees alone 
even now. 

Another theory is that Kalidasa was probably a 
native of Vidarbha or Berar as he dresses his Mala- 
vika in Malavikagnimitra in the Vidarbha style. 
Malavika was the princess of Vidarbha and thus it suit- 
ed the genius of Kalidasa to adopt the Vidarbha style, 
in his description. Nor can the Vaidarbha style of 
Kalidasa make him a native of Vidarbha ( Berar) 
because this style belongs to poets of many other 
provinces. This theory, therefore, need not detain 
us longer. 

Dr. Bhau Daji maintains that Kalidasa, although 
a resident of Ujjain, was in all likelihood a native of 
Eashmere because he draws his illustrations 
chiefly from the Himalayas. According to him^ 
Kalidasa is the only Sanskrit poet who describes a, 
living* saffron plant and this plant grows only in 
Kashmere and in the regions west of it. Pandit 
Laxmidhar Shastri of the Punjab University agrees 
with Bhau Daji and gives additional arguments in 
support of his theory. His arguments may be sum- 
med up thus: 

(1) There is not a single work of Kalidasa 
which does not make any reference to northern side 

u 1V * fc7 


of the Himalayas, in or about Kashmere itself. The 
whole of Kumarasambhava, half of the Meghaduta, 
the first and fourth acts of Vikramorvvashi, the 
seventh act of Shakuntaia, the first, second and 
fourth cantoes of Raghuvansha are full of the de- 
scriptions of the Himalayas and chiefly of the region 
in or about Kashmere. The Bhupati or Bhuteshwar 
in Kumarasambhava can be no other than the 4 Bhu- 
tesh' or modern 'Buses' in Kashmere. The Vashish- 
thashrama in Raghuvansha with its Dewadaru trees, 
its caves and forests can be no other than the Va- 
shishthashrama modern Vangoth situated about 
two miles below the * Butes '. No other poet except 
Kalidasa has given such an accurate miniature paint- 
ing of the scenes of the Himalayas. One, gifted with 
genius, can paint beauty, but a distant genius, how- 
ever gifted he may bs, cannot enter into exact details 
that can only be known by personal observation. 
Some personal touch of a very close type is necessary 
to explain, the frequent retreats of our poet to Hima- 
layas. It is not mere love of nature that draws him 
to the Himalayas, The sites such as the Bhutesh, 
Nandikshetra and Vashishthashrama do not enjoy 
any popularity outside Kashmere. They only point 
to a Kashmerian writer, and to a unique love which 
the poet had for his native place. 


(2) In works of Kalidasa, there are allusions to 
social customs and conventions which are peculiar to 
the Kashmerians. For instance, 

(a) Reference to the breathing* in of smoke, on 
the part of the bride after the 'Lajahom' 
at the nuptial ceremony denotes the custom 
which is prevalent to this day in 

(b) In Raghuvansha, Indumatif does not 
offer the wedding garland to Aja with her 
own hands, but asks her nurse to do so. 
This would appear curious to people of 
other parts of the country where the practice 
is that the bride otters the garland with her 
own hands. But it was an ancient marri- 
age custom in Kashmere, known as the 
1 Mangal Mala Vidhi, * according to 
which, the mother of the bride or in her 
absence any elderly lady of the bride's 

. Raghu VII, 27. 

Raghu VI, 83. 


family whose husband is alive fastens the 
wedding garland round the neck of the 
bridegroom. This ' Mangal Mala Vidhi * 
stands for ' Kanyadan' in Kashmere which 
a mother of the bride has in other places to do. 

(3) Vallabha, a commentator of Kalidasa, 
ppints out that the real hero of Meghaduta is Kali, 
dasa himself, and an imaginary hero ' Yaksha > is 
conceived to heighten the effect of the poem. The 
personal feelings of the poet are expressed with such 
warmth and intimacy, that they cannot but be the 
result of an incident in his own life. The direction 
of home is significant and the feelings and senti- 
ments represent the poet's own state of mind at a 
particular time of his life. ' Yakshas ? are known as 
the inhabitants of Kashmere from ancient times. 
''Yaksha, 7 modern 'Yatchha,' is still a popular family 
name in Kashmere. Numerous sites of their resi- 
dence such as * Yakshadhara, ' 'Yakshagrama ' are 
still in existence. The Kailasa mountain in Megha- 

* duta, denotes the Kashmerian Eailas known as 

* Haramukuta ' or ' Haraparwat. f 

(4) In Meghaduta, special reference is made to 

* Vapi ' or a spring in the town. According to 
Bilhana, 'Vapis 1 are scattered throughout Kashmere. 
They are so characteristic of the Kashmerian town. 


(5) Kalidasa, in his mighty suggestive style 
records that the house of ' Yaksha ' could be spotted 
by marks of 'Shankha'* and f Padma ' on its door- 
ways. Kalhana in his Rajatarangini brings out a 
comparison between Alaka and Kashmere, and points 
out that Kashmere is chiefly marked by its own 
lakes ' Shankha > and ' Padma. > 

Now, in accordance with the description in 
Meghaduta, the native city of Kalidasa (1 ) must be 
situated in the valley below the 'Haramukuta v moun- 
tain on the bank of Kanak Vahini Ganga; (2) it 
must contain a 4 Vapi'f or spring bound with steps, 
at the foot of a hill which gives a general view of the 
city; and (3) it must be a flourishing town and must 
be of some historical importance. All the above 
conditions are fulfilled by the ancient town of Maya, 
gram, modern Manigam, which is situated below the 
1 Haramukuta ' mountain. It has also in its neigh- 
bourhood a hill which gives a view of the whole city. 
Ruins of an ancient temple are still noted in the 
vicinity. The town is not far below * Vashishtha- 
shrama ' and close to the ' Butes. ' Lofty houses are 
now no more seen, but the very name * Mayagram * 
suggests that the town was once noted for its archi- 

Megha U. 17. 
Megha U. 1& 


lecture, for, * Maya ' in the Kashmerian legends is 
represented as the great architect. Even ' Yakshas ' 
too are known as great architects in Kashmere* 
Manigam is known even to this day for its numer- 
ous beautiful rice fields. This is probably the 
reason why the poet so frequently refers to the rice 
fields and shows his great familiarity with the crops 
of rice. Manigam may thus be noted as the home 
of Kalidasa in Kashmere. The topography and the 
description of the town of * Alaka ' as given in 
Meghaduta best agrees with Mayagram, modern 
Manigam. Thus Manigam in Kashmere is the ideal 
1 Alaka ' of Kalidasa and he is himself the 'Yaksha 1 
in Meghaduta. 

We have given Laxmidhar Shastri's arguments 
in detail because, we are in agreement with him, so 
far as the country of Kashmere is concerned. About 
the town Manigam we have no comment to 
make. Laxmidhar Shastri fixes Manigam as the 
home of Kalidasa and supposes 'Alaka' as the ideal 
town, a town existing in conception only. Kalidasa 
belonged to Yaksha family and he made mention of 
Yaksha in Meghaduta. He had therefore no reason 
to conceal the real name of a town which was his 
birthplace. Jahangir in his memoirs makes mention 
of Alaka, the headquarters of the Kistawar district, 


about 180 miles south of Shrinagar in Kashmere*. 
It is highly probable, though not absolutely certain, 
that the Alaka of Kalidasa is the same Alaka visited. 
by Jahangir during his tour of Kashmere. It is for 
the scholars to decide which of the two is the- 
birthplace of Kalidasa. 

Kalidasa must have been an inhabitant of Kash- 
mere but he appears to have travelled much in India. 
Kalidasa suggests the cloud messenger to visit Ujjain*, 
even though it is not on its way from Ramgiri to* 
Alaka. He has given in detail the description of 
Ujjain. This indicates that the poet was familiar 
with Ujjain and that he resided there for a long time. 

At Mandsaur, his messenger cloud was made a 
target of the curious and lovely glances of its women. 
At Ujjain, he directs the cloud to make itself fami- 
liar with the fickle glances of its women. But at 
Alaka, he makes no such request to the cloud, al- 
though the Kashmerian women are no less beauti- 
ful and no less sportive. The contrast is significant 
and it shows that at Ujjain and at Mandsaur Kali* 
dasa looks at the women with the eyes of a stranger^ 


Megha, P. 27. 


while at Alaka or Mayagram, he had respect for its 
women as they belonged to his native place. 

Now the question arises that if Kalidasa was a 
native of Kashmere why did not Kalhana, author of 
i^ajatarangini, make mention of him in his history 
of Eashmere. The answer is simple and it is this 
that Kalidasa did not play any part in the political 
history of Kashmere. His literary career began and 
Bended outside Kashmere. 

We will now discuss the much disputed ques- 
tion as to when Kalidasa lived. One favourite theory 
is that Kalidasa flourished in the sixth century A. D. 
.and resided in the court of Yashodharman, who 
assumed the title of Vikramaditya. The theory is 
based on the traditional association of Kalidasa with 
Vikramaditya, and the advocates of this theory sup- 
port their arguments with a story from Rajatarangini 
wherein Kalhana mentions that a great powerful 
iing of Malwa sent his court-poet Matrigupta to 
rule over Kashmere and Dr. Bhau Daji identifies 
Matrigupta with Kalidasa. But this identification 
is absurd as we have shown in the chapter on king 
Vikramaditya that Yashodharman, though he 
assumed the title of Vikramaditya, was not Vikrama- 
ditya I of Ujjain, who was according to tradition the 
"Contemporary of Kalidasa. 


Prof. K. B. Pathak argues that Kalidasa men- 
tions the White Huns as being on the banks of the 
Oxus,* and they came there in the fifth century A. D. 
according to recent historical research. Kalidasa 
therefore must have lived in the fifth century A. D, 
Sir Charles Elliot, Dr. Mayer, Col. Sykes and many 
other scholars and historians maintain, no doubt, 
that White Huns were found in the region of the 
Oxus between 420 and 494 A. D. But Kalidasa does 
not mention the White Huns. He makes mention 
of Huns in general and Huns generally are mentioned 
even in the Mahabharata as residing about this region 
which is a work of 300 B. C. The mention of Huns 
by Kalidasa, therefore, does not necessarily lead us to 
place him in the fifth century A. D. 

Another pet theory is that Kalidasa lived at 
Ujjain in the court of Chandragupta II who, as is 
well known, also assumed the title of Vikramaditya 
and who lived about 400 A. D. Sir Vincent Smith, 
Mcdonnel and many other scholars advocate this 
theory. But Kalidasa could not have lived after 
Chandragupta IFs conquest of the Shaka kings of 
Ujjain, the romantic story of which we have already 
given. Kalidasa in his Meghaduta mentions among 
other stories current among the country folk, only an 

Raghu IV, 67 (a). 


episode of Udayana and Vasawadatta. No incident 
relating to Shaka or Gupta period is mentioned by 
him as current among the common people. The 
romantic incident of Dhruvadevi more romantic 
indeed than the elopement of Vasawadatta was. 
quite fresh in the memory of the people, and it 
should have found a place in Meghaduta, if Kalidasa 
had been a contemporary or if he had followed 
Chandragupta II, whereas Bana who lived in the 
seventh century A. D. makes mention of it. We 
therefore think that this theory is not tenable. 

A somewhat later date is assigned to Kalidasa 
by Mr. Ramkumar Chaubey of Benares, who thinks 
from the use of the words ' Kumara ' and 4 Skanda * 
and their synonyms throughout the works of Kalidasa, 
that he flourished during the Gupta period in the 
reign of Kumara Gupta or Skanda Gupta. This 
theory is not of much value as Kalidasa could not have 
intended to convey a vague reference to his patrons, 
1 Kumara ' and * Skanda ' which are used everywhere 
in his works in their ordinary well known senses, 

Mallinatha, while commenting on the fourteenth 
verse of Meghaduta, supposes that Nichula and 
Dignaga were contemporaries of Kalidasa, and on this 
authority Max Muller places Kalidasa in the middle 
of the sixth century A. D. But Prof. Mcdonnel says 
that it is uncertain whether by Dignaga Mallinatha. 


means the Buddhist teacher Dignaga, who, according 
to Buddhist tradition, was a pupil of Vasubandhu. 
But the assertion, that Vasubandhu lived in the sixth 
century, depends chiefly on the Vikramaditya theory 
and is opposed to the Chinese evidence, which indi- 
cates that works of Vasubandhu were translated in 
404 A. D. Moreover, Kalidasa, we think, would not 
have made a covert attack on his rivals. If Dignaga 
was his contemporary and his rival, he would have 
openly condemned him and still further, it may be 
noted, that throughout the works of Kalidasa, there is 
no word with * Slesha ' or pun, suggestive of two 
senses. This ' Alankar ' was never used by Kalidasa 
and these words cannot bear the other sense put 
upon them by Mallinatha. 

Kalidasa used the word c Jamitra'* in Kumara- 
sambhava. It is said that this word is borrowed 
from the Greeks. But there is nothing to support 
the statement that the word was imported in the days 
of Aryabhata in the fifth century A. D.^gjah^te, no 
doubt, borrowed many Greek worj 
the only borrower of words of 
of Greek origin were certainly j 


the first astronomical * Siddhantas ' were first formiu 
lated in Ujjain in the first century B. C. Such 
words might have come to India with the first 
batch of Greek invaders in the days of Alexander 
(320 B. C.). Again, on the authority of * Sarvartha 
Chintamani ' ' Jami ' means a daughter and ' Jami- 
tra ' means that which protects the daughter and 
in this sense it does not smell of Greek origin. 

Lastly, Prof. Sharada Ranjan Roy quotes a 
couple of verses from Aswaghosha and suggests that 
Aswaghosha copied the idea from Kalidasa's 
* Raghuvansha ' wherein occurs a poem import. 
ing the same* idea, On this supposition, he con- 
cludes that Kalidasa preceded Aswaghosha, who 
lived in 79 A. D. Prof. Cow ell, on the same ground 
argues that Kalidasa finished the picture whose rough 
outline was drawn by Aswaghosha, and thus he 
lived after Aswaghosha. 

^ i 

TOT: ^5Ttt 1 

Aswaghosha, B. C. 


RaghuVII, 11. 

Aswaghosha B. C, f X f 28. 


Raghu II, 4, 


We cannot say who made an exhibition of sto- 
len goods. Perhaps neither of them is guilty of theft r 
for similarity of expressions and ideas appear in 
different poets and no inference can be made re* 
garding which poet borrowed from another. Sucb 
similar expressions cannot assist us in fixing the date 
of any poet. 

We have noted above the various theories put 
forth by different scholars, suggesting different dates 
for Kalidasa, all ranging from the beginning of the 
fourth to the end of the sixth century A. D. and 
examined them according to our light. We will 
now go on to examine further evidence put forthi 
by scholars who advocate the theory of the first cen- 
tury B. C. 

In Malavikagnimitra, Kalidasa refers to the 
poets, Bhasa and Saumilla. Of Saumilla, we know 
nothing. But Bhasa whose dramas have now been 
found out, lived in the fourth or fifth century B. C, 
Kalidasa therefore ought to be placed shortly after 
Bhasa and not after a long interval of six centuries as 
the advocates of 5th and 6th century theory maintain. 

Professor Paranjape maintains that the real proof 
of the age of Kalidasa can be found in a critical study 
of his works and he refers to some details in Malavi- 


fegnimitra which were then fresh in people's memo- 
ry. Some of them are as follows : 

Firstly, Agnimitra had two queens. Virasena of 
Vidarbha was a brother of the senior queen Dharini 
and he was of a lower caste, a fact, which need not 
have been mentioned at all. Secondly, Pushyamitra, 
writing a letter* to his son Agnimitra and inviting 
him for Aswamedha, requests him to come with a 
mind devoid of anger. Now history does not know 
of any incident which had enraged Agnimitra against 
his father and Kalidasa refers to it simply, because 
his audience was familiar with the incident which 
has been forgotten in course of time. Prof. Wilson 
admits the strength of this argument and says 
'The events of his reign, which are familiarly alluded 
to f were not of a character to have survived any very 
protracted interval in popular recollection. ' These 
two facts, and particularly the second which is the 
most important, naturally lead us to conclude that 
/Kalidasa must have lived within a century or so after 
Pushyamitra whose rule ended in 14 S B. C. 

Further going on to Raghuvansha f we find, in 
the description of Digvijaya of Raghu, Huns f located 

Raghu IV. 


to the north of Kashmere and nowhere in India. 
This time can only be before the fourth century 

A. D, when they had already come to India. Even 
4 Yawanas ' * (Greeks) were not in India at the time 
of Kalidasa. They are located by him in Afghanis- 
tan. Now the Greeks were in India in the days of 
Alexander (320 B. C.). They were driven out of the 
Punjab by Chandragupta of the Mauiya dynasty. 
Greeks came back to India again in the days of 
Menander (150 B. C.) but they were driven away by 
Vasumitra of the Shunga dynasty some time about 
125 B. C. The Greeks never came to India hereafter. 
They had no kingdom in India nor in Afghanistan 
after 1 50 A. D. It seems therefore reasonable that 
Kalidasa's time must be placed some time between 
120 B. C. and 150 A. D. 

Having sandwitched Kalidasa's time between 125 

B. C. and 150 A. D. we now proceed to examine 
further evidence with a view to see whether the age 
of Kalidasa can be still further limited. We have a 
fresh evidence in Raghuvansha where the Swayamwar 
of Indumati is described. There we find a refer- 
ence to a Pandya king who is styled * Lord of 

WPlt $* 1S1* 1 *' Raghu IV, 60, 61. 


Uragapore'*. This mention of Uragapore, as pointed 

out, by Mr. C* V. Vaidya, fixes the date of Kalidasa 

as preceding the first century A. D. Uragapore 

puzzled Mallinath and he translated it into Nagpore. 

But, as stated elsewhere, proper names are untrans- 

latable and we have to find out a city which was 

the capital of the Pandyas and which was named 

Uragapore. Now recent research has shown that 

ancient Pandyas had a capital named Urayur which 

is a Prakrit form of Uragapore and that this capital 

was destroyed by the Cholas in the first century 

A. D. The remains of this town were recently dis- 

covered near Trichnopoly. Uragapore thus destroyed 

in the first century A. D. could not be properly ex- 

plained by Mallinath, who lived in the tenth century 

A. D. The Pandyas again came to power about 200 

A. D. and they made Madura, their capital. If 

Kalidasa lived in the fourth or fifth century A. D., 

he would have mentioned Pandyas as Lord of 

Madura and not as Lord of Uragapore. Kalidasa 



Raghu VI, 59, 60, 


therefore lived before the destruction of Uragapore, 
which took place in the beginning of Christian era. 

This fixes the time of Kalidasa. He must have 
lived some time between the final extermination of 
Greeks by Vasumitra and the downfall of Uragapore. 
This means some time in the first century B. C. or 
early in the first century A, D. But as the name 
of Kalidasa is associated with king Vikramaditya I, 
as his court poet, he should also be placed along with 
Vikramaditya in the latter half of the first 
century B. C. 



TPHE question, who was the first king, in Indian 
history, named Vikramaditya, is not yet settled 
and scholars both Indian and Western are still 
fighting over it. That there were many Vikramadityas 
in Indian history is out of question. Chandragupta II 
who conquered Ujjain from the Shakas about 
388 A D. is called Vikramaditya, a name which is 
shortened in his coins as 'Shri Vikrama', 'Sinha Vik- 
rama ' or ' Vikramanka. ' The next king in Indian 
history, who is named Vikramaditya, is Yashodhar- 
man of Mandsaur who defeated the Huns and raised 
at Mandsaur a victory pillar in 533 A. D. The 
other kings, named Vikramaditya, belonged to Cha- 
lukya dynasty in the Deccan, the last of them being 
Vikramanka, who ruled between 1076 and 1126A.D. 
There is one more Vikramaditya in the history 
of Kashmere. But these Vikramadityas of the 
Deccan and Kashmere, however, do not come into 
this controversy, as they do not possess any of the 
following four characteristics which are the diatin- 







guishing marks of the original Vikramaditya in popu- 
lar traditions, namely i 

(1) He was the Shakari or the vanquisher of 

the Sbakas. 

(2) He ruled in Ujjain. 

(3) He was the patron or at least the con tern- 

porary of Kalidasa, and. 

(4) He was associated with the Samvat Era of 

57 B. C. 

The contest thus, as to who was the first Vikram- 
aditya lies between Chandragupta II and Yasho- 

We will now first give the arguments of those, 
who believe Chandragupta II to be the first Vikram- 

Sir R,G. Bhandarkar says that Chandragupta 
II conquered Malwa in 388 A. D. and exterminated 
the Shakas, i. i., Satraps from Malwa. He assumed 
the title of Vikramaditya and made Ujjain his capital. 
For certain chieftains of the name of Guptas in the 
Dharwar district give themselves in their inscriptions 
the title, which signifies that they belonged to a 
family, which once ruled in glory at Ujjain. They 
trace their descent through Vikramaditya specified 
as king of Ujjain. Sir Bhandarkar further says that 


Ghandragupta II, after the conquest of Malwa, re- 
sided in all probability at Ujjain. Other historians 
endorse his views and maintain that Chandragupta 
II made Ujjain his second capital. 

This theory, no doubt, fulfills the two require- 
ments that Chandragupta II was a Shakari and that 
he ruled at Ujjain. But he could not have started 
the era of o7 B. C. Scholars try to explain this 
fact by supposing that Chandragupta II in memory 
of his exploits, changed the Malava era into Vikrama 
era. But this theory is quite untenable as we have 
shown in our chapter on the Shaka and Samvat era. 
Further, Kalidasa could not have been his contempo- 
rary, because, Kalidasa, as we have explained before, 
certainly belonged to earlier time. He cannot be 
placed in the fourth century A. D. It therefore 
appears to us that Chandragupta II could not have 
been the first Vikramaditya of popular legend. 

Coming next to Yashodharman of Mandsaur, 
Max Muller says that king Harsha of Ujjain, sur- 
named Vikramaditya, defeated the 4 Mlenchhas ' at 
the battle of Korur in 544 A. D., expelled them from 
India and in commemoration of the victory, found- 
ed the Vikrama era. He dated his new era 600 
years back, thus making it appear as if it commenc- 
ed in 57 B. C. 


These words of Max Muller, no doubt, point out 
to Yashodharman of Mandsaur, for, Harsha nevef 
ruled at Ujjain. But he defeated the Huns and not 
the Shakas and therefore he is not Shakari. Secondly, 
there is no reason why he should date back his 
exploits or his era 600 years back. Thirdly, he 
never annexed Ujjain to his kingdom, nor made 
Ujjain his capital and lastly he could not have been 
a contemporary of Kalidasa, though some scholars 
look upon Matrigupta and Kalidasa as one and the 
same person. In Rajatarangini, we read that 
Vikramaditya of Ujjain sent an eminent poet of his 
court, Matrigupta, to rule in Kashmere. He ruled 
there till the death of his patron, when he retired 
as a Sanyasi to Benares. Dr. Bhau Daji is of opi- 
nion, that this Matrigupta is no other than the poet 
KaJidasa and he argues that Matrigupta and Kalidasa 
both mean the same person. Matrigupta means 
4 Protected by the mother Kali 7 and Kalidasa means 
4 the servant of Kali. 7 But we are not quite sure 
if the date given in Rajatarangini of the reign of 
Matrigupta in Kashmere tallies with the date of 
Yashodharman, and even if it does, and though 
Yashodharman may be accepted to be so powerful 
as to be the overlord of Kashmere, yet we think 
that Matrigupta cannot be Kalidasa, for Kalhana 
would certainly have mentioned his true name and 

fame in the history of Kashmere. And, secondly, 
proper names are not translatable. Chandrashekhar 
and Shashi Bhushan both mean the same thing, but 
as proper names, they cannot be confounded with one 
another. Otherwise, history would be a jumble. 
In short, Yashodharman cannot be the first Vikram- 
aditya of the popular legend, for he was neither Sha- 
kari, nor a contemporary of Kalidasa, nor did he rule 
in Ujjain. 

If neither Chandragupta II nor Yashodharman 
was the first Vikramaditya, then the only alternative 
left to us is to believe in the Vikramaditya of popular 
tradition who ruled in Ujjain in the first century B C. 
to be a historical personage. His exploits were 
so great that his name became an enviable title like 
Caesar in European history and other kings who 
followed were anxious to assume it. But the difficulty 
in believing in such a historical personage is that there 
is no historical record to prove the existence of such 
a person. 'It has long been,' says Max Miiller, c an 
open secret that there is absolutely no documentary 
evidence of the existence of such a king Vikramaditya 
in the first century B. C.' Under this idea, Euro- 
pean scholars try to offer solution by suggesting such 
untenable theories as changing the name of Malava 
era into Vikrama era or antedating a victory by 600 


In the Prakrit ' Saptashati Gatha ' of Hala, a 
reference is made to a powerful king named Vikrama. 
Hala was a Satawahan king of Paithan who ruled, 
undoubtedly, in the first century A. D. The Vikrama 
referred to by him, can be no other than the 
Vikrama who preceded him in the first century B, C. 
The ' Saptashati Gatha ' of Hala is a work, the 
authenticity and antiquity of which is undoubted. 
This reference makes us to believe that the legend- 
ary Vikramaditya of the first century B. C. was a 
historical person. He was a Shakari, he ruled in 
Ujjain, and he was also the contemporary of Kali- 
dasa. His name was associated with Malava era, 
though he cannot be said to have founded it. 

In conclusion, the first Vikramaditya, as happily 
observed by Col. Luard, lived in the first century 
B. C, and the second Vikraraaditya Chandragupta 
II in the close of fourth and early in the fifth cen 
tury A, D. Both were Shakaris or enemies of 
Shaka. The first defeated the first batch of Shakas 
in the Punjab and annexed Punjab to his kingdom 
of Ujjain and the second Vikramaditya vanquished 
the second batch of Shakas or Kshatraps who ruled 
at Ujjain and annexed the province of Malwa to 
Magadha The first belonged to Malava tribe 
and the second to Gupta dynasty. The first kept 
Ujjain his capital and the second made Ujjain the 


seat of his viceroyalty. In short, Vikramaditya of 
popular tradition was Vikramaditya I of Ujjain, who 
by his valour, made his name an enviable title. 

The life of Vikramaditya, as it is known till now, 
is, no doubt, mixed with many an inconsistency and 
impossibility. He is said to have lived in penance 
for fourteen hundred years in the temple of Harsid- 
dhi. This is certainly an exaggeration of his asce- 
tic life. He, no doubt, lived in the garb of a mendi- 
cant, before he came to the throne of Ujjain, in order 
to get an insight into foreign policy. But in this 
garb, he lived in foreign countries. Again a tradi- 
tion asserts that in his court, flourished the nine 
gems, Varahamihir, Vararuchi, Kalidasa and others. 
This tradition is based on a verse in Jyotirwida- 
bharan* which itself is a work of eleventh century 
A. D. It absurdly brings together all the noted men 
up to that time into one line. The nine gems men- 
tioned in the verse are known to have lived at 
different periods and to have belonged to different 
countries. Traditions often jumble together per- 
sons and things belonging to different times and 
different climes. The stanza therefore has no histo- 
rical value and taken in its literal sense, it has no 


meaning. It only signifies that Vikramaditya was a 
patron of learning. He patronised poets, astrono- 
mers and scholars. He, in his time, put an end 
to the traditional belief that wealth and learning are 
ever at war and can never go hand in hand. 



Indo-Aryans according to Mr. C.V. Vaidya, 
1 came to India about 4000 B. C, and spreading 
through the Punjab southward, came to Malwa and 
Ujjain in very ancient days which cannot be later 
than 3000 B. C. As already shown, the two kings 
of Ujjain Vinda and Anuvinda were on the side 
of the Kaurawas in the great Mahabharata fight, 
which, according to Mr, C. V. Vaidya. took place 
in 3102 B. C. Naturally enough, the inhabitants of 
Ujjain were Vedicin religion- This religion consist- 
ed of prayers to Vedic deities and animal sacrifice. 
Indeed animal sacrifice was practised by the people 
of the Aryan race in all the countries and in differ- 
ent branches. The prosperous town of Ujjain soon 
became a sacred place and from that time down to 
the present day, Ujjain is one of the seven sacred 
cities of Hinduism. 

We know that the early Vedic religion of ani- 
mal sacrifice soon became unpopular and the reli- 
gion of renunciation or Sanyasa was preached and 

Temple of Mahakal (view from Koli Nitha). 


developed by the ' Upanishads ' from about 2500 to 
2000 B. C. The Bhagwat Gita tries to establish an 
equilibrium between Vedant and Karma- Marga 
or the philosophy of the Upanishads and the religion 
of sacrifice. We are not quite sure if Ujjain is 
mentioned in Upanishads but the 'Puranas' state 
that Shri Krishna, the teacher of Bhagwat Gita f 
studied in Ujjain under Sandipani. We may, there- 
fore, believe that Ujjain was also a place where 
Vedant philosophy was taught 

The religion of sacrifice became again predomi- 
nant during the days of Shrauta Sutras. Superstition 
and priest-craft proved too powerful Sacrifices and 
rituals grew apace. This horrid nature of Shrauta 
sacrifices naturally gave rise to two kindred religions 
Buddhism and Jainism which went to the other 
extreme length of denying not only the efficacy of 
sacrifices, but even the authority of Vedas. These 
two religions were nearly contemporary in their rise. 

Buddhism was taught and propounded by Gau- 
tarn* Buddha early in the fifth century B. C. 'Bud- 

*Siddharth -Gautama was born in 557 B. C. at Kapil- 
vastu, capital of Shakyas, on the border of Oodh and Nepal. 
His father was king Sudhodana of the Gautama clan of 
Kshatriyas. The youth was of a religious temperament of 
mind from early age and he abandoned his wife, his newly 
born son and all princely luxuries at the age of 28. He pas* 
Bed some years in contemplation at Gaya and became en* 


dha's glory consists,' says Max Miiller, 'not in having 
discovered new truths but in having emphasised the 
ethical aspect of the Upanishads at the time when 
exclusive attention to dry forms and cumbrous rituals 
had robbed the Hindu religion of its life. It was 
not the metaphysical, but the ethical side of the 
doctrine of Buddhism that proved more attractive and 
influenced the masses. About 200 years after the 
death of Gautam Buddha (264 B. C,), Ashoka, the 
then Emperor of India, was converted to Buddhism, 
which receiving royal support, spread rapidly 
throughout India, and naturally at Ujjain, it obtained 
a strong foothold. By the royal command, Buddhist 
gatherings were held at Ujjain, every third year. 
Buddhism flourished in Ujjain, from the days of 
Ashoka down to the time of Harsha of Kanauj in 
the 7th century A. D., when it began to decline, for, 
the Chinese traveller Yuan Chwang who visited 
Ujjain in 641 A. D. mentions that there were only two 
Buddha-Vihars there and they too were in a dela- 
pidated condition. 

The second religion, which was preached in 
protest against the horrid Shrauta sacrifices, was 

lightened (one who knows the mystery of the world). He 
preached his religion first at Benares and soon gathered 
hundreds of desciples and thousands of followers. He died 
in 477 B.C. 


Jainism. It was preached by one Vardhaman Maha- 
vir* about the same time as Buddhism and though it 
did not then progress much, it still survives in India* 
This religion originally spread in Magadha till about 
300 B. C., when according to a legend in the 
Kalakacharya Kathanak, owing to a famine in Maga- 
dha, Bhadrabahu with some of the Jain disciples 
left Magadha and came down as far as U jjain. The 
Jains were welcome there. They lived in peace,, 
though they had no royal support. 

Thus from the third century B, C. Ujjain be- 
came an important centre of Jainism and Buddhism.. 
They were alternately supported and patronised by 
kings and viceroys of Ujjain, for, Samprati, a, 
successor of Ashoka, was a Jain, according to a Jain 
tradition. But Buddhism was more prevalent there.. 
It is said 'Buddhism was born in Nepal, spread in 
Magadha and flourished in Avanti.' 

*VardbamaD was born about 600 B. C. Kapil, Sutra 
tells us that he was conceived in the womb of Dewananda* 
wife of a Brahmin Rishabha-Dutla in KundH^ran? in Debar. 
He married a lady named Yeshoda and had by her a daughter* 
He retired from ibe world at the age of 30 in 570 B. C. f and 
became a homeless monk. After one year, he laid aside every 
kind of garment and went about as a naked ascetic. He 
practised austerities and meditation for 12 years and at tbe 
age of 42 be styled himself as Mahaweer a ?reat hero, and 
Jaina^conqaeror and began to preach his religion and philoso* 
phy, now known as Jainism which means a religion of 
Jaina. He may be regarded as tbe founder of Jain religion 
though Jains believe in 23 Tirthankars preceding him. 


But it must be remembered that these three re- 
ligions lived peacefully side by side in Ujjain. 
There was a spirit of toleration among their fol- 
lowers. In truth, these three religions are not entirely 
three independent camps. Jainism and Buddhism 
are, in fact, the offshoots of Vedic religion. For, 
both of them are based on Sankhya philosophy and 
they revered the life of monks or ascetics preached 
in the Upanishads. 

As may be expected, Vedic religion of animal 
sacrifice re-asserted itself again and for a time be- 
came supreme in India. Pushyamitra of the Shun- 
ga dynasty performed the horse sacrifice, so typical of 
the Shrauta religion of sacrifice, Pushyamitra ? s son, 
Agnimitra, then ruled over Ujjain and the supremacy 
of Vedic religion was again established. 

A new form however was assumed hereafter by 
the Vedic religion. It was in the form of 'Linga* 
worship associated with the worship of Rudra in 
Vedas. The Vedic idea of Rudra was that of a uni- 
versal deity ever present behind the changing phe- 
nomena of the world. When this amalgamation of 
*Linga' and 'Rudra' worships took place we cannot 
say. But there is a clear mention of 'Rudra 1 being 
worshipped in the form of 'Linga* in the Mahabha- 
rata of about 300 B. C. Ujjain thus became famous 


for worship of Mahakala which is in the 'Linga 1 form. 
We are certain that Mahakala was famous through- 
out India in the days of Vikramaditya I and Kalidasa 
and it may be taken that the fame of Ujjain as a 
seat of Shiva worship goes back to the first century 
B. C, at least. 

This new form of Vedic religion placed the 
worship of idols in the forefront and soon idols of 
different deities such as Devi, Vishnu, Ganapati, 
were added to those of Shiva which was originally 
in the 'Linga' form. This idol worship was certain- 
ly borrowed from Buddhism and Jainism, These two 
religions had originally no idols, for, both denied the 
existence of God. But gradually Buddha and Jaina 
themselves began to be worshipped and images of 
Buddha and of 24 Tirthankars of Jainism began to 
be placed in temples and worshipped by the followers 
of these religions. 

Buddhism of Mahayana* school first introduced 
this change about 200 B. C. Hinduism copied this 
idol worship and Hindu temples with 
of Shiva, Vishnu and Durga arose^ 
These temples soon became plac 

* Mahay ana sect of Buddhism i 
to secure the salvation of all bei: 
yana sect where the concern is to 


Under the rule of Vikramaditya and that of 
Shaka dynasty, Ujjain was under Hindu sovereigns 
who were the worshippers of Mahakal. Buddhism 
rallied again in the days of Eanishkaand his succes- 
sors but did not come to Ujjain. When the Shaka 
dynasty was subverted by Chandragupta II, Ujjain 
came under the rule of the Guptas who were staunch 
Hindus but worshippers of Vishnu- Apparently 
Shiva worship still flourished in Ujjain. It later 
assumed the horrid form of ' Aghorpantha ' and 
'Kapalika' which we find there in the days of 
Shankaracharya. Shiva worship thus degenerated 
into several sects, each of which had its own tenets 
and symbols. 

Towards the end of the Gupta period, the 
modern eighteen Puranas were evolved out of the 
one old Purana that existed in the days of the Upani- 
shads and out of these eighteen Puranas ten are 
devoted to the glorification* of Shiva. We do not 
know where these Puranas were formulated, but that 
Ujjain was one of the great centres of Shiva worship 
may be deduced from the fact that in the Skanda 
Purana there is a special Khand or division devoted to 
the description of the eighty-four 'Lingas 1 of Shiva 


which had become objects of popular worship in anil 
about Ujjain. 

These Puranas gave a new form to Hinduism 
and the Vedic fire worship gradually receded 
into the background. The worship of five 
Pauranic deities, namely, Shiva f Vishnu, Ganapati, 
Durga and Aditya became general. The worship- 
pers of these different deities began to fight with one 
another representing their own God as the supreme 
one. The correction of this evil was a spiritual 
necessity, and Shankaracharya came forward. He 
preached his Advaita philosophy at a time wheH 
India was torn by dissensions in many religions and 
their manifold sects and sub-sects. The Vedic sacri- 
ficial religion also raised its head again about the 
same time and added its own voice to the turmoil o7 
religious dissensions. Kumar il, a great disputant and 
scholar, laid stress on the supremacy of religion of 
Vedic sacrifice at this very time and wrote his well- 
known commentary on Shabar Bhashya of Jaimini 
Sutras known as Purwa Mimansa. Shankaracharya* 

*Shankar was born in an obscure village Keladi m 
Malabar in 788 A.D. His father was Shiva-guru of Nambudri 
class of Brahmins. He lost bin father, when he was only 
seven years of age and his widowed mother had to take care 
of his education. He learned Vedas and Vedangas in his 
native country, and in spite of his mother's opposition, he left 
his home at the age of 16. He went to the hermitage on tbo 
bank of the Narmada presided over by a Sanyasi by name 
Govindachar y a, the disciple of Gaudapada. There he embrace* 


evolved order oat of this chaos. He moved about 
through the whole of India and established the supre- 
macy of his doctrine by defeating the teachers of 
other philosophies in open religious contest. At 
Ujjain, Shankaracharya was opposed by a Kapalika 
ascetic. As stated in Shankardigvijaya he disputed 
with the Acharya, urging the sanctity of the practices 
ef Kapalikas .* He was defeated in argument, but he 

Sanyasa, practised Yoga and prosecuted his studies in 
Vedant. He then went to Benares and propagated his Ad- 
vait Philosophy there. His learned Bhashya on Badarayan's 
Vedant Sutra and on the chief ten Upanishads and Bbagwat 
Gita collectively known as Prasthanatraya have made his 
name immortal. His next mission was to teach and preach 
Advait (Monism) expounding the truth of Tat-twam-asi (that 
tbou art). His controversy with Mandan Misra at Mahismati 
is well-known. It was agreed between themselves that who 
ever be defeated would take on himself the role of life adopted 
bV his opponent. Mandan Misra was the follower of Purwa 
Mitnansa Philosophy of Kumaril and was thus an advocate 
of animal sacrifice, The controversy ended in the defeat of 
Mandan Misra. He embraced Sanyasa and was named 
Sttreshwaracbarya. He remained with Shankaracharya till he 
was posted at the head of Shringiri Matha in the south 
Mandan's gifted wife Bharali accompanied them and It is said 
that she was a great help to Shankaracharya in his revival of 
Vedant Hinduism. Shankaracharya established his second 
Matha at Puri on the east coast which goes by the name of 
Qovardhan Matha. He established two more Mathas one at 
Dwarka, on the west coast, and another at Badrinarayan in 
the Himalayas. Having thus finished his life's work, he dis- 
burdened himself of his mortal coil at Kedarnath in 820 A. D. 

*Agborpantha or Kapalika is a sect of Shiva worshipper 
in a degenerated form. It conceives Shiva with his residence 
in the burial ground surrounded by ghosts and besmeared 
with ashes of human corpses. 


and his sect had to be put down. King Sudhanwa, 
who is said to have accompanied the Acharya from 
Malabar and the Viceroy of Ujjain under the king of 
Kanauj, co-operated with Shankaracharya in finally 
getting rid of this horrid form of Shiva worship. At 
this time, there lived at Ujjain a learned man, Bhut- 
ta Bhaskar. He wrote a commentary on all the 
Vedas. He was an advocate of religion of sacrifice. 
Shankaracharya had a discussion with him and he 
was induced to be the follower of the 

Shankaracharya had next to fight with more 
learned professors of Buddhism and he succeeded in 
defeating them in metaphysical and philosophical 
discussions. Buddhism, by this time, was already 
ripe for a fall. The monks who lived in splendid 
Vihars, liberally endowed by kings and wealthy 
merchants, had become luxurious and led an indo- 
lent life. The addition of nunneries to monasteries 
led to the fall of both monks and nuns in morals as 
in the West. Buddhism, consequently having been 
defeated in philosophy, soon lost ground, but mo- 
nastic tendency was still alive and could not be alto- 
gether suppressed. Shankaracharya therefore haS 
to institute ten classes of Hindu ascetics correspond- 
ing to Jain Ganas and these survive even to-day. The 
institutions of Mahants and Sadhus of to-day, 


therefore, cannot but be traced back to those of 
monks and nuns among the Jains and Buddhists. 

Shankaracharya could not also drive away idol- 
atry, from among the Hindus, which had become 
popular from the example of the Buddhist and Jain 
idolatries. In Pauranic literature, the worship of 
Shiva, Vishnu, Sun, Devi and Ganapati is mentioned. 
But they are the different aspects of one supreme 
God and their idols are only means to an end. The 
power lies in the devotion and not in the idols. 
This, the Hindus had lost sight of. They took the 
copy for the real, used different shapes of idols for 
different aspects of God and thus gave birth to an idea 
of plurality of Gods. This conception is, no doubt, 
absurd and it gave rise to many sects and sub-sects 
with their difference of opinion. This led to quarrels 
and consequently to the weakness of Hindu religion. 

Shankaracharya, himself an Advait philosopher, 
foresaw the result. He therefore ordered the 
worship of Panchayatan or a group of five different 
idols together. 

The third and greatest concession which Shan- 
karacharya gave to Buddhist and Jain feelings was 
the adoption by Brahmins and Vaishyas of vegetable 
diet. The philosophy of animal sacrifice preached 
By Purwa Mimansa as interpreted by Kumaril was 


shown to be inferior and he ordered to give up flesh 
eating at all. He thus found it easy to convert Jains 
and Buddhists into Hinduism. The tenet of non- 
injury was originally preached by the Upanishads, 
but bloody animal sacrifices still prevailed among 
Vedic Aryans and whenever Buddhism was sup. 
planted animal sacrifices were performed to mark 
the success of Vedic religion. Buddhism again 
became powerful and animal sacrifices were in 
abeyance for about five centuries. Samudragupta 
of Gupta dynasty again performed Aswamedha 
which is said to have been long neglected. Animal 
sacrifices were again current and continued for 
about three hundred years, but from the days of 
Shankaracharya we find no record for any horse 
sacrifice, being performed, though animal sacrifice 
is not quite extinct. Modern Hinduism thus bor- 
rowed the three prominent characteristics from 
Buddhism, namely, institution of Sadhus, idolatry 
and vegetarian diet. 

With due respect to Shri Shankaracharya, let 
us give vent to a bit of our mind. Shankaracharya 
ordered the worship of Panchayatan with a view to 
bring close together the five different sects and thus 
keep unity among all the Hindus. This shows that 
at the time of the Acharya, there were only 
five sects among the Hindus. Shankaracharya was 


a monotheistic philosopher and was above idol 
worship. This is not a place to enter into the 
question whether idol worship is sanctioned by 
the Vedas. But the worship of invisible being not 
within the grip of the masses, idol worship as a 
means to concentrate mind must have come in 
vogue. In fact, idolatry taken in its more literal 
sense is a kind of symbology, or a worship of a 
thing seen and symbols in one shape or another 
we all vitally need up to a certain stage of spiritual 
advancement. The Christians have a cross f the 
Mohammadans respect the crescent. The Tazia 
of Mohammadans is a copy of the Kaba. Buddhists 
and Jains have the images of Buddha and Tirth- 
ankars. Idol therefore is not a thing to be dis- 
carded, provided it is always kept in mind that it is 
the copy and not the original The defect certainly 
is not in the worship of an idol, but in forgetting 
the true significance of idols and thereby creating 
plurality of gods. The plurality of idols gives birth 
to plurality of sects. The followers of these sects 
quarrel among themselves to prove their own 
superiority and the superiority of the idols they 
worship and thus unity of the nation is at stake. 
Shankaracharya tried to bring close together the 
followers of different sects by ordering the 
worship of a group of five different idols together. 


But he could not succeed in his object. In spite of 
his attempts the idols multiplied themselves into 
legions, thus creating a number of sects and sub- 
sects. The idea of unity is thus far away. 

The second evil aspect of idolatry is due to the 
inclination of kings and wealthy persons to lavish 
wealth on temples. Making idols of gold and 
decorating them with rubies and diamonds creates a 
temptation for marauders and they are induced to 
plunder the wealth of the temples and the towns. 
The loot of Somnatha by Mahmud of Gazni and 
the destruction of the temples of Mahakal and 
Vishveshwar by Sultan Altamash and Aurangzeb are 
instances. These Mohammadan plunderers did not 
destroy the temples out of religious zeal but simply 
to obtain the enormous wealth contained therein. 
For, nowhere in history, we find a single instance of 
destroying a temple where a plunderer had no 
means to satiate his greed. We have instances of 
kidnapping children simply for the sake of orna- 
ments they wear. The destruction of wealthy tern- 
pies comes under the same catagory. 

Avarice makes no difference in any religion. 
Mahmud* of Gazni broke the idol of Somnatha 
and decorated the walls of the Jami mosque at 

"History of India by Sir H. Elliot, Vol. II, page 387-88. 


Bukhara with the rubies and diamonds obtained 
from the loot of Somnatha temple. Changis Khan 
of the Moghul family, himself a Mohammadan, 
looted the same mosque, ascended the pulpit, broke 
the chests which contained copies of Quran s, 
converted the chests into horse-troughs and kicked 
the leaves of the Quran in the midst of impurities. 
He singled out Mullas and priests for the special 
duty of taking charge of the horses. In this very 
mosque, he circulated wine among his followers and 
courtesans were called in to dance and sing. This 
fact corroborates our assertion that it is the greed 
of money, and not a zeal for religion, that induced 
foreigners to plunder the Hindu temples. 

Buddhism and Jainism held renunciation in 
high esteem. They allowed people of all castes, 
men and women, old and young, to become monks 
and nuns, and pass a life of idleness and begging. 
This morbid feeling towards renunciation was so 
deep-rooted in the minds of the people that though 
at the time of Shankaracharya Buddhism was ripe 
for death and Jainism not consolidated, Buddhists 
and Jains could not be converted to Hinduism and 
in order to gain his object, Shankaracharya, himself 
the greatest philosopher, had recourse to give-and- 
take policy of a politician. He had therefore to 


institute ten classes of Hindu* ascetics or Sadhus 
corresponding to Jain Ganas as a tenet of his new 
doctrine, he preached and he thus succeeded in 
converting Buddhists and Jains to Hinduism. He, 
however, restricted asceticism to Brahmin males only. 
Bat the modern Hindus do not respect this restric- 
tion and thousands of men, irrespective of caste, sex 
or age have embraced the profession of Sadhus to 
enable them to lead an indolent life. They pass 
their time, not so much in devotional prayer as in 
the unceasing struggle to live by beggary. We do 
not wish to be misunderstood. A few of the Sadhus 
are really good and learned men, but the majority 
of them are irreligious and uneducated. Under a 
cloak of brown or reddish colour, they are a source 
of many a mischief and have brought their order 
into contempt. They are, no doubt, a drain on 
country's wealth. 

The third injunction of Shankaracharya is the 
prohibition of non-vegetarian diet. It is based on 
the principle of Ahimsa or non-injury to animal. 
It belongs to the old Aryan religion, as preached in 
the Upanishads. But Buddhism carried the prin- 




ciple to extreme. It is said of one of the buddhist 
kings of Malwa that he gave strained water even to 
elephants and horses, lest insects might be killed. 
Modern thinkers, to quote Swami Vivekanand*, for 
instance, have now directed their attention to the 
efficacy of meat-eating. According to them a nation 
which adopts and practises abstinence from animal 
food becomes incapable to resist. It cannot hold 
its own in the struggle of nations. A non-flesh eat- 
ing people cannot possess the physical stamina, the 
mental grip and the tenacity, so necessary for sue* 
cess in fighting. Even now the fighting races are 
the Rajputs, the Sikhs, the Jats, and the Gurkhas. 
They are all flesh-eating people and they have cer. 
tainly proved their capacity for resistance The 
vegetarian diet, no doubt, gives strength. It gives 
the power of persistence but not that of resistance, 
Hindus knew no foreign invasion before the third 
century B. C. buddhists and Jains first took to vege- 
tarian diet. Still a large number of Hindus were 
the followers of Aryan religion and they partook of 
flesh diet. Before the close of the 8th century 

*So long as man shall have to live an active life, under circum- 
stances like the present, there is no other way except through 
meat-eating. It is trne that the Emperor Ashoka saved the 
lives of millions of animals by the threat of the sword, but is 
not the slavery of a thousand years more dreadful than that? 

Epistles of Swaini Vi\ekanand ( 24ih April 1897), 1st 
Series, Page 75. 


they fought many a battle with foreigners and 
though they suffered temporary losses, they succeed- 
ed in the long run to drive the foreigners out- But 
the prohibitive order of non-vegetarian diet resulted 
in the weakness of Hindus as a nation. Vegetarian 
diet is certainly a great help in the pursuit of intel- 
lectual and spiritual study, But it involves the loss 
of so valuable a possession as political independ- 
ence. A vegetarian preserves the head but looses 
the hand. He can think, he can argue, but he is 
unable to give blow for blow. Taking the life of 
a few goats is sinful, so they say; but to be unable to 
protect the honour of one's own wife and daughter 
and to remain slave for ever is more sinful indeed. 
This advocacy for flesh diet is, no doubt, revolting 
to delicate sentiment, but reason welcomes it and 
present day experience confirms it. It is, however, 
not the main cause, but it is one of the principal 
causes of the downfall of Hindus, if not of India. 

Shankaracharya, on the other hand, succeeded 
in re-establishing the sanctity of the Vedas as a 
revelation. The study of Vedas was revived and we 
find that 4 Uwat' who lived at Ujjain about 900 A. D. 
wrote a commentary on Shukla Yajurveda. We 
also find that there was one Bhatta Bhaskar who had 
written commentaries on all the Vedas in the days 
of Shankaracharya. He also belonged to Ujjain. 


Since the days of Shankaracharya, modern 
Hinduism as described above became established in 
Ujjain and was the religion of its rulers in the days of 
the famous Parmar kings. Later on, a wave of 
Jainism came upon it, and some kings of the 
Deccan and Gujarat became converts to it. Ujjain 
however does not record any Jain king in the 
Parmar or succeeding dynasty. There was, however, 
an influx of Shwetambar* Jains from Gujarat into 

*The Jain ascetics were originally caked, bat subse- 
quently they clothed themselves in white garments. Accord- 
log to a legend in the Kalkacbarya-kathanak there was a 
severe famine in Magadha about 300 B. C. during the reign 
of Chandra Gupta Maurya dynasty. Bhadrabahu, with some 
of his Jain disciples, left Magadha and came down as far 
as Ujjain. At this time an incident occurred in Magadha. 
Those of the Jains who stayed in Magadha were one day 
passing through the town. The queen of Chandragupta 
saw them from the balcony of her palace and was much 
disgusted to see them absolutely naked. She therefore 
ordered them to cover their bodies or quit the town and the 
naked Jains had to wear a white cloth. Thus, those who 
remained io Magadha and were compelled to wear a cloth 
were called Shwetambar, while those, who were outside 
Magadha and were not under the compulsion of wearing a 
cloth, still remained naked and were called Digambara. 
Another incident which resulted in the separation of Jains 
into two divisions occurred at the same time. During the 
absence of Bhadrabahu, the Jains at Magadha settled their 
scriptures consisting of twelve 'Angas'. But Bbadiabahu 
and his disciples did not accept the new scripture. They 
adhered to their old dogmas and old scriptutes. This 
division of Jain Church, according to Mr, Rameshchandra 
Dutt, began about 300 B. 0., but the final separation took 
place about 79 or 82 A. I>. Now the Shwetambars and 


Ujjain. The first batch of Jains which came with 
Bhadrabahu from Magadha during the rule of the 
Maurya dynasty were Digambars. Thus there are 
both Digambar and Shwetambar Jains at Ujjain. 

In conclusion, Ujjain has seen many changes it* 
the religious history of India and has been the 
centre of many religious activities. It witnessed 
the old sacrificial religion of Shraut Sutras, the 
Ahimsa of Buddha and the asceticism of Jain. It 
next saw the rise of Shiva worship in his 'Linga* 
form and the sect of Kapalikas with their horrid 
practices. It also saw Buddhism and Jainism re- 
lapsed into rampant idolatry and lastly Paurania 
Hinduism re-established in its present lifeless 

Digambars differ in their dogmas only. They now wear 
cloth and that too of any colour* At Ujjain, those who earner 
from Magadha led by Bhadrabahu were Digambars and 
those who came from Gujarat were Shwetambars. 

It is interesting to note, that every religion in course of 
time split into two or more divisions. Thus Christians are 
divided into Roman Catholics and Protestants, Mohammadaos 
into Shiyas and Sunnis, Jains into Digambars and 
Shwetambars, Buddhists into Mahayanists and Hinayanista 
and Hindus into Dwaits and Adwaits so far as philosophy- 
is concerned and into Shaivas and Vaishnawas so far as 
worship is concerned. 



INDIAN astronomy treats Ujjain as on longitude 
and this is due to the fact that Indian as- 
tronomy from the days of the old Siddhantas was 
zealously studied and formulated at Ujjain. Earlier 
Vedic astronomy as given in the Vedanga Jyotish 
does not divide the zodiac into twelve signs but 
it divides it into 27 Nakshatras or mansions of the 
moon. It is clear from this that the twelve signs 
of the zodiac were not known in the days of the 
Vedanga. This Vedic astronomy was based on the 
movements of the moon among the several starry 
constellations and as the moon completes her re* 
volution in 28 days or a little less, the Vedic Rishis 
divided the zodiac into 27 or 28 mansions. But 
the Greeks following the Chaldeseans who were 
the first to study mathematically the movements of 
planets among the stars, divided the zodiac into 
twelve houses, corresponding to the sun's position 
among the stars during the twelve months in which 
the sun makes a complete circuit of the heavens. 




The names of these houses as Aries, Taurus, etc., 
came into India with the Greeks and are exactly 
the same in Indian astronomy as Mesha, Vrishabha 
and so on. This fact, to our mind, proves that 
later Indian astronomy borrowed from the Greeks 
these twelve houses and methods of calculations 
based upon them and amalgamated the two divi. 
sions, namely, 27 Nakshatras and 12 Rashis. This 
amalgamation must have taken place at Ujjain 
under Ashoka in whose time, we read that there 
were astronomical schools at Ujjain. The trade 
from the west in pre-Christian days came through 
Alexandria to Ujjain which was a distributing 
centre and an emporium of commerce and naturally 
Greek astronomy along with Greek trade came to 

The oldest Panch Siddhantas which formulated 
nearly accurate methods of calculations of the posi- 
tionsof the sun, the moon and planets were, according 
to Shankar Balkrishna Dixit,* formulated about 200 
B- C. in Ujjain. Dixit has shown that the old Pan- 
cha Siddhantas of which information is given to us 
by Varahmihira in his work Panchasiddhantika were 
Pulisha, Romaka, Vasistha, Saura and Pitamaha. 
We have no original works before us and Varahami- 

*History of Indian Astronomy (la Maratbi) by S. B. 
Dixit, Pp. 159, 212 and 310. 


hira gives information about their methods of calcu- 
lations as referred to his own time, namely, 427 
Shaka year. But Dixit thinks that the oldest of 
them, namely, Pitamaha must have been formulated 
long before the beginning of the Shaka era because 
its system of calculation was the same as that of 
the Vedanga Jyotish, This tallies with our previous 
statement that astronomical studies began at Ujjain 
in Ashoka's time. Greek astronomy had no influ. 
ence before Ashoka's time, for in the Mahabharat 
which was probably written about 300 B. C, there 
is no mention of Rash is. 

Astronomy was zealously studied in Ujjain and 
accurate calculations were attempted. Dixit has 
shown that the Pitamaha Siddhanta, the oldest of 
the Pancha Siddhantas, gave inaccurate results and 
greater accuracy was shown by Romaka and 
Vasishtha. It thus seems that five Siddhantas 
gradually arose in Ujjain as greater accuracy was 
secured by and by. It appears that there was an 
observatory in Ujjain probably during the time of 
Yikramaditya as surmised by Col. Todd. Ujjain is 
a town in an open plain with equable climate and 
moderate rain. It means an open horizon and less 
fear of clouds. Then again being situated nearly 
on the tropic of cancer, it was the best place to 
observe the uttermost deflection of the sun towards 


the north. It is well-known that the equator anTl 
the two tropical lines are the places, best situated 
to make astronomical observations and there 
being no other city en this line in India, Ujjain 
was thus best situated for establishing an observa- 

Hereafter, Ujjain was under the Shakas and 
astronomical studies were not only not checked but 
promoted, for the Shakas came with the civiliza- 
tion of the Yawans or Greeks. The Shakas ruled 
from 78 A. D. to 388 A, D. as shown elsewhere atfd 
astronomical studies prospering in their time, the 
later Siddhantas formulated methods of calculations 
based on the Shaka era. Indeed all modern as- 
tronomical calculations from the days of Varahini- 
hira down to the days of Bhaskar and Ganesh, the 
authors of Siddhanta Shiromani and Graha Laghava, 
respectively, give methods of calculations referred 
to the Shaka era. 

The modern Siddhantas which give greater 
accuracy in calculating the position of the sun, the 
moon, and the five planets at any future time 
were gradually evolved hereafter beginning with the 
Arya Siddhanta of Aryabhatta. Aryabhatta was -a 
resident of Patna the capital of Gupta empire. 
Ujjain which was then under the Gupta 
rule continued to be the centre of astronomical 


studies. Aryabhatta appears to have written his 
Siddhanta, in 421 S. E. at Ujjain, where, as 
Dixit holds , it was known and used by Varahmihira. 

Varahmihira comes hereafter, i. e., from about 
427 S. E. (505 A. D.), the year mentioned in his 
Pancha Siddhantika. He was a resident of Ujjain. 
He did not formulate any new Siddhanta but gave 
the methods taught in the old five Siddhantas which 
were then current in Ujjain, He also wrote two 
works Brihatsanhita and Laghu Jatak on 
astrology which was also developing along with astro- 
nomy. He used many Greek words in the original. 

Although the Indians borrowed the essentials 
from Greeks at Alexandria, they used their own 
genius in developing the science and repaid the debt 
of the west manifold, for the Arabs after their 
conquest of Sindha, in the beginning of eighth 
century A. D., took the Siddhantas of Aryabhatta 
and others to Bagdad and from thence they went to 
Cardove, the Arab capital in Spain. From there 
they went to the Universities in Italy, France, 
Germany and England. The western astronomers 
have, no doubt, developed the science still further and 
thrown the Indian Siddhantas to the back-ground. 
But they cannot but acknowledge their debt to the 
works of Aryabhatta and other Indian astronomers. 


Astronomical studies continued and new 
Siddhantas giving still more accurate results in 
astronomical calculations arose, The most noted of 
them is Surya Siddhanta which, as shown by Dixit, 
is quite different from the old Saura Siddhanta of 
the Pancha Siddhantika. Indian astronomers look 
upon the Surya Siddhanta as revealed and this idea 
gaining strength by and by naturally stopped 
further development in astronomical studies. 
Where and when this Siddhanta was written we do 
not know; but it is probable that Surya Siddhanta 
was proclaimed at Ujjain. In this very town astro- 
logy and astronomy were studied before the 
advent of or in the beginning of Christian era. As 
Benares is the place where every new Indian philo- 
sophy was preached so Ujjain seems to be the 
Greenwich of India and the place where every new 
Siddhanta was promulgated. 

Ujjain continued to be the seat of astronomical 

learning down to the days of Bhoja Parmar to 

whom is attributed the astronomical work named 

Rajamriganka, though some surmise that this work 

was written by a court astronomer named Vidyapati 

who was the sixth ancestor of Bhaskaracharya, the 

well-known author of Siddhanta Shiromani. 

During Mohammadan times we do not know how 
astronomical studies fared at Ujjain. But we know 


that Jaisinha, the Moghol viceroy at Ujjain, in the 
beginning of eighteenth century built an astronomical 
observatory at Ujjain. Jaisinha was an ardent 
student of astronomy. He set up two more 
observatories, one at Delhi and another at Jaipur. 
All these except that at Jaipur remained unused, but 
k is to the credit of the late His Highness Maharaja 
Madhav Rao Scindia that he saw the utility of 
repairing and improving the stone implements built 
by Jaisinha and it is notable that the Government of 
Gwalior has opened an establishment at Ujjain for 
taking actual astronomical observations and thus 
the fame of Ujjain as a seat of astronomical learning 
continues down to the present day. 



\Y/E know very little about the theatre of Sans- 
* * krit dramas. But generally those places 
play an important part in dramas, where dramatic 
scenes have been actually performed. Besides 
Ujjain, as a city of the Mahakal, is generally known to 
have been the place where Mahakal fair was period- 
ically held when learned men from far and near 
assembled, where poets used to sing their poems and 
dramatists used to perform their dramas. The 
town is supposed by many scholars to have been the 
scene of Malati Madhava, the well-known drama 
of Bhavabhuti, while it was actually the scene of 
Mritshakatika of Shudraka. This play is a develop- 
ment of Daridra Charudatta of Bhasa who seems 
to be quite well conversant with Ujjain and he 
makes mention of Ujjain in his drama. We 
therefore propose to dwell in this chapter upon 
Mritshakatika and Malavikagnimitra, which refer 
to Ujjain. 


The Mritshakatika, literally the clay-cart, also 
called the toy-cart, is a drama of considerable 
antiquity. The plot of the drama is based on the 
episode of Charudatta and Vasantasena which is 
supposed to have occurred during the rule of Palaka 
towards the close of fifth century B. C. The 
authorship of the work is attributed to Shudraka 
whom Col. Wilfore identifies with the founder 
of the Andhra dynasty of Magadha succeeding the 
throne by deposing his master, the last of the 
Kanva race. Dr. H. H. Wilson gives 190 or 192 
A. D. as the date of this first Andhra king, and 
Rameshchandra Dutta gives the date of Shudraka 
or Sipraka as 26 or 27 B. C. and thus the period of 
the compilation of this drama comes between the 
close of the first century B. C. and the beginning of 
the third century A. D.* 

The drama depicts the state of the society of 
Ujjain of the time when it was written. The 
dramatis persons belong to Ujjain and the scene 
is also laid in Ujjain. 

The hero of the drama, Charudatta, is a 
married Brahmin who has an affectionate wife and 

* The tradition contained io the Awanti-Sundari Katha of 
Dandin makes Shudraka contemporary of Andhra king Swati 
who lived some time in the 1st century B. C. or 1st century 
A. D. 


a little son. He is a model of goodness. It is said 
of him that he beautified the city of Ujjain with 
gardens and temples, wells and fountains. He- 
carries his virtue of benevolence to a vicious excess- 
and is thus reduced to poverty. Vasantasena, the 
heroine, is the famous and wealthy prostitute of the 
town and is considered as a society woman. In 
ancient Sanskrit literature we read of public womea 
mixing freely with high class gentlemen, Ther 
subject of the drama is chiefly social and domestic. 
The city was then sufficiently advanced in trade- 
and industry and the people were rich enough to be 
luxurious. At that time gambling was a fashion 
as it is even now in a veiled form and prostitutea 
were not looked down upon. 

One day, Vasantasena comes down the 
street pursued by the dissolute brother-in-law of the 
king and enters the house of Charudatta. She 
has seen him before and honoured him with heir 
affection in consequence of his good reputation, 
Charudatta welcomes her and admires her. When- 
she departs, she begs permission to leave her 
jewels in a casket in his house, saying that it is for the 
jewels that she is pursued, but in reality that is 
only a pretext for further interview. 

The next scene opens with a robber, who* 
contrives to abstract the casket from Charudatta^ 


house and presents it to a maidservant of Vasanta- 
sena with whom the thief is in love. The girl 
recognises it as belonging to her mistress and 
persuades her lover to restore it to Vasantasena 
end thus escape the risk of being treated as a 

When Charudatta knows of the theft, he 
feels that a foul blight will for ever rest upon his 
fame. But his wife gives him a string of jewels 
and induces him to send it to Vasantasena and to 
ask her to accept it instead of the stolen ornaments. 
Charudatta accordingly sends the string to Vasanta- 
sena with a message that the ornaments were lost 
at play and this string of jewels is offered in their 
place. Vasantasena is already in the know 
and she accepts the offer with a smile. Vasanta- 
sena in her next visit chides Charudatta for being 
a gambler and at the same time tells him the 
truth. During this interview, they confess 
mutual love. 

The next act introduces Vasantasena to Cha- 
rudatta's wife when she returns the string of 
jewels to her to whom it, of right, belongs. Present- 
ly Charudatta's son comes in playing with a little 
clay-cart which gives the drama its name, and 
Vasantasena, learning that the boy grieves because 


the neighbour's child has a toy-cart of gold, whilst 
his is made of clay, tells him that he shall have 
one of gold, and does not make the promise 
in vain. 

Charudatta next goes to the garden leaving 
a word that Vasantasena should follow him there. 
On her way to the garden, the dissolute relative 
of the king takes hold of her and strangles her and 
leaves her for dead beneath a heap of dry leaves. 
A Buddhist mendicant passes by. He recognises 
her and takes her safe to a neighbouring convent. 
The royal relative contrives to make it appear that 
Charudatta robbed Vasantasena of her jewels and 
then murdered her. The court of justice gives 
Charudatta the punishment of death; but Vasanta- 
sena appears on the scene and discloses the whole 
affair and thus saves her beloved from the 

Charudatta's wife embraces Vasantasena and 
welcomes her as her 'happy sister' and a veil is 
thrown over her to mark that she is no longer 
a public woman. A liaison between a pious 
Brahmin and a prostitute of a Shudra class was not 
liable to objection during those bygone days. In 
these days, it is certainly a novel. 

The revolution in the government of Ujjain 
forms an under-plot. Palak's disregard for public 


welfare offends the people and they bring a change 
in the government. Aryak f the founder of Abhir 
dynasty, having killed Palak, the tyrant king of 
Ujjain, takes possession of the town. 

The other drama, which is less directly connect- 
ed with Ujjain is Malavikagnimitra. The hero 
of the drama is Agnimitra, viceroy of Ujjain. 
The time is the rule of Pushyamitra which lasted 
from 184 to 148 B. C, The scene is laid at Bhilsa 
as Agnimitra during his viceroyalty of Malwa, 
used to live there. The author of the drama is the 
well-known poet Kalidasa who flourished in the first 
century B. C. and the drama therefore is of no 
recent date. Dr. Wilson suspects that Malavikagni- 
mitra is not the work of Kalidasa, the author of 
Shakuntala and Vikramorvashi, as there is neither 
the same melody in the style nor fancy in the 
thought. But this is no conclusive evidence to 
decline the authorship of Malavikagnimitra ta 
Kalidasa. Kalidasa wrote many dramas and epic 
poems and all are not likely to be of equal merit. 
The preceding must necessarily be inferior to the 
succeeding work. Malavikagnimitra might be his 
first attempt at drama. 

The play tells us that Dharini, the senior 
wife of Agnimitra, has in her attendance Malavika, 


a charming and beautiful girl. She studies, singing 
and dancing under a teacher named Ganadasa. 
Her picture is painted and kept in a picture gallery 
but the original Malavika herself is scrupulously 
kept away from Agnimitra's knowledge. The 
sight of the picture inspires the prince with an 
ardent desire to see the original and he employs 
his confident Gautama to procure him the sight 
of Malavika. 

To effect this, Gautama instigates a quarrel 
between Ganadasa and another musical teacher 
Hardutta, regarding their respective pre-eminence, 
They appeal to the prince and he refers the dispute 
to Dharini. Both the teachers have to show the 
performance of their pupils and as already arranged 
by Agnimitra, Ganadasa brings forward Malavika, 
on whom he stakes his credit. She shows the 
audience, among whom Agnimitra is present, her 
skill in dancing and singing. Dharini suspects 
the plot but Agnimitra gains his object. 

The scene then changes into a garden, where 
Agnimitra and Malavika meet. But while the 
prince is addressing Malavika, he is interrupted 
by Irawati, his junior wife. She commands 
Malavika'a retreat and informs Dharini of what 
is going on. Malavika is locked up in a store room. 


Agnimitra requests Gautama to effect the 
liberation of Malavika and he contrives a scheme. 
When the prince is engaged in conversation with 
Dharini, Gautama sends a message that he has 
been bitten by a snake and the only hope of saving 
his life lies in the application of a snake-stone 
to the bite. Dharini has one in her finger ring 
and she instantly sends the ring to Gautama. 
Gautama f s object is gained. The jailor has 
instructions to liberate Malavika only on being 
shown the seal ring of the princess. Gautama 
shows the ring to the jailor and effects Malavika's 

Malavika is then conveyed to a pavilion, where 
Agnimitra presents himself, but they have scarcely 
enough time to exchange love, before they are again 
disturbed by Irawati. 

The next act collects the prince, the princess, 
Malavika and some attendants in the garden, 
when some presents arrive from the submissive 
Raja of Vidarbha. Amongst the gifts, are two 
female slaves, who recognise in Malavika, the 
sister of Madhavasena, a friend of Agnimitra. It 
appears that when Madhavasena was formerly 
seized by his kinsmen, his sister, with the help of his 
minister, contrived to make her escape. She sought 


the protection of Dharini and the young princess 
turns out to be heroic Malavika. 

In the meantime Pushyamitra, father of Agni- 
mitra, celebrates Ashwamedha and appoints hi& 
grandson Vasumitra, son of Agnimitra, to guard the 
sacrificial horse. He protects the horse from the- 
Yawans and defeats them on the bank of the Indus. 
Dharini overjoyed by the news of her son's success 
distributes rich presents to all her train and with 
concurrence of Irawati presents Malavika to 

Many scholars maintain that the scene of 
Malati Madhava of Bhavabhuti is also laid in 
Ujjain, and they identify Padmawati in Malati 
Madhava with Ujjain. Padmawati is, no doubt>, 
one of the names of Ujjain. But Bhavabhuti's de- 
scription of the geographical surroundings of the city 
does not fit well with Ujjain. From the description- 
given by Bhavabhuti the information we gather 
about the geographical position of Padmawati is 
that the city stands on the confluence of two rivers 
Sindhu and Para, there is a waterfall in the river r 
Sindhu is in the vicinity of the town, that the conflu- 
ence of Sindhu and Madhumati is not far away 
from the town and on this confluence is a temple of 
Shiva known by the name of Suvarnabindu and 


that the river Lawana flows close by the town.* We 
do not find the traces of these rivers even in the 
neighbourhood of Ujjain, nor is there a waterfall in 
its vicinity. We therefore cannot identify the 
Padmawati of Bhavabhuti's play with Ujjain. The 
scene of the drama of Malati Madhava cannot 
therefore be laid in Ujjain. 

The whole of this chapter, we know, has 
very little connection directly with Ujjain, but the 
place being the scene of some dramas and not being 
the scene of Malati Madhava, as many scholars 
suppose, we have taken the indulgence of writing it, 
Besides the perusal of the plots of the dramas will 
give the readers an insight into the social condition 
of the people of the time. 

*Dr. Wilson identifies the four rivers Sindhu, Para, 
Lawana and Madhumati with Sindh, Parwati, Nan and 
Mabnwar and Mr. Roy Chandhari in his Political History of 
Ancient India (page 336) identifies Padmawati with Pawaya, 
now a village some forty miles from Gwalior and 12 miles 
from Dfrbra railway station, The position of the village 
.agrees well with the description of the town Padmawati 
given by Bhavabhuti in Malati Madhava. It was about the 
time of Bhavabhuti, one of the three capitals of the Nagas 
the other two being Kuntipur modern Kotwal and 
Mathura. Mr. M. B, Garde of Gwalior, Archaeological 
Department, has endorsed this identification in his 'Site of 
Padmawati 9 * 







UJJAIN, like Benares, may well be styled the 
city of temples. Skanda-Purana makes 
a mention of eighty-four principal Shiva-temples, 
besides the well-known temple of Mahakala, where 
public worship is offered daily and periodically. But 
there is a large number of shrines, dedicated to 
Shiva, Durga and other deities, built from time to 
time, by individuals, who were very rich and had at 
their disposal facilities to ensure perpetual service 
and worship. To-day the total number of temples 
is in the neighbourhood of two thousand. Besides, 
there are private shrines and we also find here and 
there Shiva-Lingas set in the Shalunkas, on open 
platforms, and they are innumerable. 

The principal temple, known as the temple of 


or Kalapriyanatha is dedicated to God Shiva. 
There are twelve foremost and famous temples of 
God Shiva at different places in India and the 
Mahakala temple is one of them. The time when 


the original temple was built cannot be definitely 
ascertained. The orthodox Hindus believe that the 
existence of the Shiva-Linga, marks the beginning of 
the world. But history cannot endorse this belief. 
The idea of constructing temples as places of 
public worship originated in the popular mind along 
with the spread of Jainism and Buddhism, For, the 
old Aryan religion knew no temples in the sense in 
which we use them now. The mention of Mahakala 
temple is made in Mahabharata and Skanda-Purana; 
and Alberuni and Ferista give lucid descriptions of 
this august building in the account of their travels. 
But this does not go to contradict our assertion, for, 
the date of the compilation of the oldest of these 
does not go beyond the period which we assign for 
the construction of temples. 

According to Jain literature, the original temple 
of Mahakala was built for a Jain idol by one Avanti 
Sukumar, a wealthy Jain merchant of Ujjain, in 
memory of his father and on the very sight where 
the body of his father was cremated. But when the 
building was complete, a Shiva- Linga was placed 
there by Hindus by a stratagem. 

The ancient histories of India give credit to 
Raja Vikramaditya for the construction of the 
original temple, but its mention in Mahabharata, 


Skan da-Parana and Jain literature does not allow 
us to assign the construction of the temple to a 
period comparatively so modern. 

In the eleventh century, the temple was 
repaired by Raja Bhoj of Parmar dynasty and he 
made many additions and extensions to it. 

In 1235 Sultan Altamash of the Slave dynasty 
made an attack on Ujjain. He destroyed the temple 
and levelled it to the ground. The idol of Shiva 
was thrown in the tank near at hand and all the 
jewellery and valuables belonging to the temple were 
taken to Delhi. At Sultan's order a mosque was 
built on the ruins of the temple. 

For more than five centuries there was no 
Mahakala temple at Ujjain and theShiva-Linga or 
the image of God Shiva was lying hidden under the 
waters of the tank called Koti-Tirtha. In 1732, 
Ujjain came under Scindia, and during the reign of 
Ranoji, his minister Ramchandra Baba Sukhatan. 
kar broke down the mosque, erected by Altamash f 
and built the present temple on the same site some 
time between 1734 and 1745. The Shiva- Linga 
which was lying in the Koti-Tirtha for the last five 
centuries was taken out and was re-instated in the 
newly built shrine. The temple stands south-west 
of the town in the centre of a spacious courtyard. 


In strange incongruity with the Hindu structure of 
the temple, the courtyard is surrounded in the 
south-east and north by a building resembling a 
Caravan-Sarai. These are probably the remnants 
of the out-houses of the old mosque. In the west 
is situated the Koti-Tirtha tank. 

The tradition runs that Ramchandra Baba had 
no son. His wife having insisted him to adopt one, 
he thought that adopted sons have not the slightest 
sympathy for the parents who adopt them. Their 
sole aim is to enjoy the property to which they be- 
come heirs by virtue of adoption. The better way 
of utilising the savings and perpetuating the name 
of the family would be by doing some meritorious act 
of permanent nature. He was a man of religious 
trend of mind and he conceived the happy idea of 
re-building the Mahakala temple. He also repaired 
64 of the ruined temples collectively known as 
Chausasti Yoginis. He thus left his name in the 
memory of posterity for many a generation to come. 

The principal place in the shrine is a subter- 
ranean chamber which is reached by a subterranean 
passage, and just overhead is another chamber. In 
the lower chamber, the Shiva- Linga of Mahakala is 
placed, and in the upper chamber there is a Shiva- 
Linga of Omkareshwar. In front of the courtyard. 


attached to and on a level with the upper chamber, 
there is a porch. The pillars of the porch are evident- 
ly of ancient date. It is probable that the material of 
the old temple was used in building the mosque 
and when the mosque was pulled down, the same 
material was used in the construction of the temple. 
The base of the main temple is 35 x 35 feet and its 
height is 85 feet. The shrine of Mahakala repre- 
sents the most popular place of worship in Ujjain, 
Hundreds of people daily visit the temple and OH 
special occasions, the crowd is so dense that some- 
times it is difficult to find even an inch of space 
inside the temple and even inside the courtyard. 
Thanks to the generous gift of the Gwalior Govern- 
ment and the handsome donations of neighbouring 
princes, the feasts and festivities in connection with 
the temple are appropriately celebrated. 

The principal festivities are on the days of the 
Mahashivaratri and Shravani Somwara. On the 
former occasion celebrations are held from the 6th 
to the 14th of the dark-half of the month of Magha 
which period usually comes by the end of February 
or in the beginning of March. In these days Bhajana 
and Keertana is a daily evening programme. The 
Mahapuja of the Shiva-Linga done in the midnight 
of Shivaratri is simply grand and worth seeing. At 
that time the crowd in the temple is overwhelming* 


On the latter occasion, i . e. 9 on every Monday in the 
month of Shravana according to solar calculation, 
the procession of the idol is taken throughout the 
city with great pomp. 

Another temple situated in Jogipura is that of 

It is on the side of Rudra-Sagara, quite in 
front of Mahakala temple with a tank between. It 
is neither too small nor too great. It is strongly 
built and the architecture is of old style. It is 
surrounded with a stone wall with gates on four 
sides leaving a spacious compound inside. In 
front of the temple, there are two Gopuras. 
On the niche in the temple a stone slab is 
fixed on which Shree-Yantra is engraved. This 
Yantra is what we call Harsiddhi. On the west 
side of this stone slab is an image of a Goddess 
Annapoorna, which is popularly known as Harsid- 
dhi. But the fact is as stated below. This God- 
dess is the tutelar divinity of Rajput Thakurs in 
general and that of Parmar family in particular. A 
tradition is current, that Vikramaditya performed 
penance in this temple for many years and it was 
through the favour of Harsiddhi, that Vikramaditya 
obtained valour and gained the victory in all his 


The date when the temple was originally built 
cannot be ascertained; but the structure of the pre- 
sent temple resembles that of those built in the 
fourteenth century by Hemadri,* minister of 
Ramadeva of Devgiri. 

Next we go to the river 


The river has its origin in the valley of a 
hillock, a few miles from Indore. It flows from south 
to north and meets Chambal near Sipawar, a village 
in the Jaora State. Its total length is 120 miles and 
on its east bank is situated the town of Ujjain. 

In Sanskrit literature, the river is named Sipra 
as well as Shipra, and people locally call it Kshipra, 
The difference in pronunciation is simply provincial 
and the inscriptions of Ashoka are a valuable help 
to us in explaining it. These edicts were written in 
the language spoken and understood by the people 
in each separate portion of Ashoka's extensive 
empire. The spoken language about the third cen- 

*Hemadri was the minister of Ramdeva of Devgiri, a 
kingdom in the northern Deccan. He lived from 1250 to 
1300 A. D. He seems to have been a zealous temple-builder 
and doubtlessly many of the temples known as He mad 
Panti scattered over Kb andean and the Hyderabad territory 
owe their origin to him. Many others going by the same 
name derived it nearly from similarity of style and age 
(Indian Antiquary Vol. VI, page 366), 


tury B. C. was Pali and according to province, 
from Indus to Ganges it was Punjabi; in Bengal 
and other eastern countries it was Magadhi, and in 
Malwa and in country downward it was Ujjeni. 
The variation lies only in the use of r, 1, s, and sh* 
While the Punjabi words retain r and s, the 
Magadhi substitutes 1 and sh for them; while Ujjeni 
retains both r and 1 as well as s and sh. Thus Raja 
in Punjabi is Laja in Magadhi, and Asoka in Punjabi 
is Ashoka in Magadhi Ujjeni retains both Raja as 
well as Laja and Asoka as well as Ashoka. This 
accounts for both the names of the river Sipra and 

Abul Fazal, in his Ain-i-Akbari* says that the 
river at times flows in waves of milk. He further 
states 'in the 43rd year of the Ilahi era, in the Ilahi 
month of Farardin, four 'Gharries' of the night 
having elapsed, this flow occurred and all the 
collections of people, Hindus and Muslims alike, 
partook of it.' Mr, Thomast Penant interprets the 
phenomenon in his own way. In his opinion, a stratum 
of white clay was somewhere near the bank 
of the river, and when the current occasionally flows 
through it, it takes a tinge as white as milk. Mr. 

*Ain-i-Akbari, Vol. II, page 196. 

t Views of Hindusthan by Thomas Penant, Vol. I* 
page 77. 


Giadwin suggests a sudden impregnation of ther 
river with chalk. Both the interpretations are in 
no way satisfactory. Passing of the current through 1 
white clay or its impregnation with chalk may give 
the flow a tinge of milk, but it cannot give the taste 
of milk and the people cannot accept chalky water 
for milk. If what Abul Fazal says, is a fact, we 
may take it as a miracle. 

Starting on our journey towards the north by 
the river side, we begin with a small but picturesque 
Narsinha Ghat, on the east bank of the river. It 
was built by Ramchandra Baba Sukhatankar, the 
minister of Ranoji Scindia, some time between 1734 
and 1745. The next is Sangameshwar and the 
third is Pishacha-Vimochan or Pishacha-Muktesh- 
war Ghat. On this Ghat, there is a temple of 
Shiva which goes by the name of Pishacha-Muk- 
teshwar. It was built by Munjadeva, uncle of Raja 
Bhoja, during his rule at Ujjain between 973 and 
997. The fourth is Ram Ghat. We owe the struc- 
ture of this Ghat to Ramchandra Malhar, the Dewan 
of Ranoji Scindia, and it must have been probably 
built during his ministership, along with Narsinha 
Ghat On this Ghat Maharani Bayaja Bai, queen 
of Daulat Rao Scindia, built a temple of Gopal 
Krishna. The temple is of black stone and by the 
side of the image of Gopal Krishna, is placed the 


marble statue of Bayaja Bai. They call it the 
Chhatri of Bayaja Bai, but this illustrious lady ex- 
pired at Gwaliorin 1863. 

The temple is probably so called because of 
.her charitable and religious bent of mind. Opposite 
Ram Ghat, on the other side of the river, is Dutta. 
Akhara, It is a hermitage for the Gosawi class 
of hermits. Next to Ram Ghat is Chhatri Ghat. It 
connects the stream of the river with the 
Chhatri of Ranoji Scindia. Both the Ghat and 
Chhatri were built, soon after Ranoji's death, 
probably between 1745 and 17f>4 by Jayappa, son of 
Ranoji. The Chhatri at Ujjain appears only to be a 
second memorial of Ranoji as his death occurred at 
Shujalpur and a Chhatri has been built there on the 
spot where he was cremated. Next to Chhatri is 
Maulana Ghat. Overlooking the Ghat, is a tomb of 
Maulana Mungis-ud-din. Mohammadans of Ujjain 
believe him to be the disciple of Khwaja Mayuddin 
Chisti of Ajmere, but Abul Fazal* states that he was 
the disciple of Awalia Nizam-ud-din of Delhi. Awalia 
Nizam-ud-din lived between 1235 and 1325 while 
Khwaja Mayuddin was born in 1142 and died in 1236. 
On the authority of Ain-i-Akbari we might safely 
place Maulana Mungis-ud-din in the latter half of 

* Ain-i-Akbari, Vol. Ill, page 365. 


18th or early in the 14th century. The construction 
of the Maulana Ghat must have therefore taken place 
along with the tomb of Maulana, probably in the 1 4th 
century. The next is Udasi Ghat with an Akhara 
of Udasis, just in its neighbourhood. The next 
two are Gandharva Ghat and Sonar Ghat. Leaving 
aside, Narsinha Ghat, which is detached from others, 
there are only eight Ghats four in continuity on one 
side and four in continuity on the other side, leaving 
a gap between. There are besides Dashashwamedha 
Ghat, Ganga Ghat and Mangaleshwar Ghatj but 
each is separated and at a great distance from the 
other. We owe the construction of Ganga Ghat 
to one Rukmini Bai Jog of Indore. The Mangale- 
shwar Ghat is named after the temple of Mangal- 
eshwar, otherwise called Angarakeshwar. Its mention 
is made in Skanda-Purana which goes to prove that 
the temple must have been originally built before 
the 10th century A. D. All the Ghats are studded 
with temples, big and small, and they present a 
beautiful appearance, from the other side of the river, 
specially on the occasions of Kartiki and Vaishakhi 
Paurnima, when thousands of people congregate 
here to have a bath in the sacred waters. The 
Ghats then are covered over with sturdy villagers 
and delicate Gujaratees and their chequerred 
dresses present a remarkably attractive sight. The 


river side is also a centre of great gaiety once a year 
on the occasion of Dashahara which happens in the 
bright half of Jyeshtha ( usually in June ) when the 
Ghats and temples are decorated and illuminated 
and people revel there with music and singing. 

The next important place of worship is the 
temple of Shri Gopal Krishna popularly known as 


It is in the heart of the town. It is also called 
the temple of Dwarkadheesha. Gopal Krishna is the 
tutelary divinity of the Scindia family and we owe 
the construction of this temple to the late Maharani 
Bayaja Bai during her stay atUjjain, between 1848 
and 1856. The site selected for the shrine is itself 
most appropriate. It tends to magnify the gran- 
deur of the temple and the beauty of the town as 
well. It is a place where Patni Bazar and Sabzi- 
K>andi meet and the road from Sarafa forms the 

The niche of the temple and the tower are of 
white marble, while the porch and the galleries 
are built of black stone. The outer doors of the 
niche are of white and green stones said to have 
been imported from Gazni and set in a silver frame. 
The image of Gopal Krishna is of black stone with 
Radha and Shankar made of white marble at left 

Temple of Dwarka Dheesh or Gopala Mandir. 


and right in same line. A statue of Bayaja Bai is 
placed on the right side and that of Garud on the 
left. The management of the temple is right royal 
suiting the royal divinity. 

From Gopal Mandir, about a couple of miles, 
is a place known as 

( 5 ) ANKA-PATA. 

There is a receptacle of water, called Vishnu- 
sagara. It is one of the seven sacred places of bath 
at Ujjain. Shri Krishna, while studying with 
Sandipani in the hermitage, is said to have dag and 
constructed this receptacle in the neighbourhood 
of the Ashram and the area around the receptacle 
came to be called after it. The word Anka-pata is 
a locative Tatpurush compound. It means initiation 
or alighting upon the study of numbers. It is a 
place where Shri Krishna was initiated to study aa 
pupil of Sandipani and hence the name of the place. 
The word is still used in Bengal when a boy is first 
put to school. It being a place of Shri Krishna's 
ramble in his boyhood, the people of Vallabha Sampra- 
daya much respect it. The place might have been 
once charming but now it is desolate and has no 
attraction about it. 

About six miles from Ujjain, east of Bhairogarh, 
on the bank of the river Sipra, is an old Banian tree 


called in Sanskrit 'Vata'. Among trees, Hindus, as a 
rule, have regard for Vata, Pimpala, and Audumbar. 
They are looked upon as holy trees and this 
'Vata' tree of Ujjain, like a 4 Vata 7 tree in the fort of 
Allahabad has a special significance. It is 
considered the holiest and a Ghat below this 
Banian tree is called 


Apart from its sanctity, the place is worth a visit 
as it abounds in beautiful natural scenery. 

Not far from Siddhavata, on the other side of 
the fort and on the bank of Sipra, is situated the 
temple of 


It was built in ancient time by a Raja, Bhadrasen. 
The shrine belongs to the Kapalika sect of Shiva 
worshippers. It is now in a ruined condition. 

North of Ujjain, on a desolate area which goes 
by the name of 'Garh 7 is the temple of 


It is said to have been built by Emperor Harsha in 
600 AD. It was now and then repaired and so the 
structure represents a strange combination of early 
Hindu and recent Mahomedan architecture. 


The image of the goddess in the shrine present* 
a grave and terrific sight and is said to have been 
in existence since antiquity. Kalidasa, the gifted 
son of the Muses, is said to have performed penance 
here and tradition prevails that it was through the 
propitiation of Mahakali that Kalidasa obtained the 
gift of poetry. How far the tradition is true, we 
cannot say. The name of the poet however indi- 
cates that he was a devotee of Kali. 



THE Sinhastha, as its name implies, occurs at 
Ujjain every twelfth year, when Jupiter enters 
the sign of Leo. The principal bathing day is the 
fifteenth of the bright half of Vaishakha, which 
usually falls some time during May. 

The origin of this fair is in the idea of holding 
a religious congress once every year at one of the 
twelve holy places. Which these twelve holy places 
were in the days by-gone, we cannot definitely say. 
As a remnant of the old custom, we now find that 
the fair is held every twelfth year at Hardwar, on 
the bank of the Ganges, at Allahabad at the con- 
fluence of Ganges and the Jamna, at Nasik, on the 
bank of the Godawari, at some suitable place on the 
bank of the Krishna and at Ujjain on the bank of 
the Sipra. But the fair at Ujjain and Nasik occurs 
in the same year, though in different months. We 
happened to read a stanza in an old writing the 
authorship of which is unknown, according to which 
it was a practice in days of yore to hold this fair in 


Nasik when Jupiter enters the sign of Leo and at 
Ujjain when Jupiter enters the sign of Scorpio, which 
means after an interval of three years. What led to 
abolish the old practice, and how and when the pre- 
sent practice of holding the fair with Jupiter in Leo 
came in vogue is a mystery which we are unable to 
solve. It is, however, certain that these faint 
originally started not earlier than the time when the 
system of twelve astronomical signs was introduced 
into India, most probably in the third century B. C^ 
further than which the existence of Sinhastha fair 
cannot go. 

But the idea of such a religious congress is 
older still. This idea had originated in Vedic 
period. The learned of those days used to assemble 
together at some place from time to time and used 
to discuss theological, philosophical and religious 
subjects for months together. Such assemblies were 
then called Brahma Sattra (a session of lectures 
on supreme spirit), or Saraswati Sattra (a ses- 
sion of learned lectures), and the mention of these 
Sattras is made in Brihadaranyaka and Aswalayana 
Shrauta Sutra and in many other Vedic compila- 
tions of that period. In Buddhist period, the 
Mahasabhas or conferences of learned followers ol 
Buddhism were held on the same line and on the 
basis of Brahma Sattra or Saraswati Sattra, With 


the change of time, either these Sattras have been 
developed into periodical fairs or these fairs might 
have been started on the ideal of old Sattras. 

The saints and Sadhus, who assemble together, 
from all parts of India, during the Sinhastha fair 
at Ujjain, belong to either of the five traditional 
religious doctrines. They are (1) Bairagis, (2) 
Gosawis, (3) Udasis, (4) Nath Sampradayis, and (5) 
Aghoris. They are again sub-divided into subordi- 
nate orders and sub-orders. Bairagis attend the 
fair in majority. Gosawis and Udasis come next in 
number while Nath Panthis and Aghoris, who come 
here, are very few and far between. They come 
and encamp outside the town at different places 
specially allotted to them. 

Bairagis are devotional. In their community, 
we find the worship of idols and the oration of re- 
ligious stories accompanied with singing and music. 
Gosawis and specially Nirmal Paramhansas among 
them are, as a rule, very learned and we find many 
Yogis and theologists and philosophers among them. 
TJdasis devote themselves to religious austerities. 
Nath Panthis are, generally Hatha Yogis, prafctis- 
hig abstract meditation with the help of Asanas 
and Pranayamas and other such rigid methods. 
Aghoris are an order of unclean mendicants, who 
indulge in revolting practices. 


The fair lasts for about a month, the last day 
being the fifteenth of the bright half of the 
Vaishakha. On this day all these saints and 
Sadhus go in procession to Rama Ghat on the bank 
of the river Sipra and worship their flags there. 
The total number of persons, who assemble in the 
fair including saints, Sadhus and pilgrims, comes 
in the neighbourhood of five lakhs. 

The management of the fair is under the 
supervision of a Mela Officer and every precaution 
is taken to give comforts and facilities to all 

The primeval aim and object however of 
holding such periodical fair have now fallen into 
decadence. There are, no doubt, some among those 
who come to Ujjain during Sinhastha time, who are 
very learned, . and a few out of them, are able 
philosophers and Yogis of high order. They discuss 
philosophical and metaphysical subjects, but they 
seldom meet together on a public platform. A 
pilgrim or a traveller has no charm for the fair and 
a round in the Mela becomes a tedious routine, 

This ancient institution of holding a periodical 
fair renders easy the exchange of ideas among 
people from different parts of the country and 
thus paves the way for love, mutual good -will and 


national harmony. Such fairs were often held at 
centres of pilgrimage, which were, no doubt, the 
seats of learning and the rendezvous of spiritual 
and intellectual giants. When holding a fair, this 
once useful practice should not be lost sight of, 
otherwise y it degenerates into a meaningless and 
ridiculous parade. 

The present age is an age of economy and 
industry. Though the fair is a religious one, like all 
other fairs in India, it is now necessary to adjust it 
to the social and economic needs of the time. 
Lectures on religious, social and industrial topics, 
together with industrial and agricultural exhibitions 
and other functions of like nature will, no doubt, 
contribute to enhance the value and beauty of the 
fair. Thus a combined programme of intellectual 
and industrial activities will make the Mela both 
instructive and interesting. 



THE grandeur of old Ujjain is now concealed in 
the womb of the earth, below the site of the old 
town which the efforts of archaeologists only can 
bring to light. There are, however, some places of 
comparatively modern date. They are worth visit 
simply from the historical or architectural point of 
view. We first go to Jaisinh Observatory. 

It is situated to the south-west of the city on 
the north bank of the river Sipra. It was built by 
Raja Jaisinh of Jaipur who lived at Ujjain as the 
Governor of Malwa under the Moghul Emperor 
Mohammad Shah some time about 17^5 A. D. 

Ujjain is mentioned in early Hindu astronomi- 
cal works as situated on the prime meridian and it 
was once the centre of astronomical study in India. 
To Greeks and Romans, the town was known as 
Urain. They named it after Urainia, the Greek 
goddess of astronomy. In Ashoka's time, it was the 
seat of a University, where astronomy was taught 
as a special subject. 


The latitude of the point where the observatory 
is situated is 23MO'-. 6" north and the longitude is 
75-46'-3" east of Greenwhich, Its height above the 
sea.level, is 1,679 feet. The magnetic declination 
is 0-49' E. Local mean time is 26 minutes and 52 
seconds behind the standard time. 

The observatory consists of (1) Samrata Yantra, 
(2) Nadi Walaya Yautra, (3) Digansha Yantra, and 
(4) Dakshinottara Bhitti or Bhitti Yantra. 

(1) The Samrata Yantra is 22 feet high and 
the edge of the Gnomon is 47 feet from south to 
north and the radius of each quadrant is 9 feet and 
1 inch. If lines be drawn at right angles to the 
quadrants at their lowermost points and perpendi- 
cular to the edges of the Gnomon wall, the points 
where they meet these edges mark the zeros of the 
declination scale carved on the top of the wall. 
The inclination of the staircase to the horizon is 
23-10' which is the latitude of Ujjain. One is 
able to see the Dhruwa or polar star, in the direc- 
tion of the staircase, when standing in front of the 
scale. On both the quadrants are marked, the 
hours and minutes to indicate time. From sunrise 
to noon the lines on the western quadrant and from 
noon to sunset, the lines on the eastern quadrant 
give the true local time, accurate to one-third of a 


minute. The standard time is obtained by adding 
to the true time, the correction which is engraved 
on stones fixed in the niches of the quadrant walls. 

(2) Nadi Walaya Yantra is a circular dial, 
constructed a few feet to the south of Samrata 
Yantra. It consists of a cylinder 7 feet long and 3 
feet and 7| inches in diameter. Its axis is fixed in 
the plane of the meridian, the faces of the cylinder 
being cut parallel to the plane of the equator. In 
the centre of each face and at right angles to it, is 
an iron style, round which, is a circle graduated 
into hours and minutes. The iron peg, fixed on 
the northern face indicates the time when the sun 
is in the northern hemisphere; and the peg on the 
southern face, gives the time when the sun is in 
the southern hemisphere. This Yantra helps to 
ascertain, the days on which fall, the equinoctial 
days in the year. It also gives us a clue as to the 
sphere northern or southern in which a particular 
star or planet is situated. 

(3) Digansha Yantra is situated quite close 
and to the east of Samrata Yantra. It consists of 
an outer circular wall 32 feet and 10 inches in 
diameter and 8 feet and 4 inches in height. Con- 
centric with this is another circular wall 20 feet in 
diameter and of the same height as the outer wall. 
In the centre there is an iron rod which is 4 


feet high. The inner circular wall is divided into 
four equal parts marking the cardinal points and 
degrees between them. By fixing a wire or a rope 
on the top of the pillar fixed in the centre and 
stretching it in the direction of a particular star or 
planet, we get the correct place of the star or 
planet, under observation. 

(4) The Dakshinottara Bhitti or Bhitti Yantra 
is a meridian instrument. It consists of a wall lying 
in the plane of the meridian and constructed in 
the directions of north and south. It is 22 feet 
both in height and length and 7 feet in thickness, 
On the eastern surface of this wall, are double 
quadrants, the centres of which are at top corners of 
the wall. On the quadrants are marked the 
degrees with their sub-divisions, while in the centre 
of each quadrant, an iron peg is fixed. By fixing 
a string in the iron peg of the quadrants and 
stretching it in the direction of the shadow 
of the peg, just at noon, we come to know the 
zenith distance and the declination of the sun. If 
the experiment is made on 21st March or 23rd 
September, the exact distance in degrees and 
minutes of Ujjain from the equator can be as. 
eertained; and if the experiment is made on 23rd 
December and 22nd June, the maximum declination 
of the sun from the equator can be ascertained. 

Chowis Khambi Darwaja. 


The observatory was in its rained condition* 
It probably remained neglected and unused since 
Jaisinh left Ujjain. But His late Highness 
Maharaja Madhav Rao, who was very keen in 
preserving the antiquities, got it thoroughly repaired 
under the supervision of an able astronomer and it 
is now equipped with a small establishment. 

Next we go to 


It is evidently a gate-way. Tradition has it that 
it was the north gate of a massive stone wall 
which in ancient time, surrounded the compound 
of the temple of Mahakal. It is so called from 
the number of pillars which support its present 
roof. The pillars are of black stone beautifully 
carved and appear to be of very ancient date and 
if we rely on the tradition, the antiquity 
of the gate goes far back to the time when exten- 
sions and additions were made to the temple 
during the time of Raja Bhoja. Archaeologists 
assign eleventh century A. D. as the approximate 
time of the construction of the gate and this 
opinion of the archaeologists supports the tradi- 
tion. It is possibly one of the outer gates of the 
courtyard of the mediaeval Mahakal temple during 
the time of Raja Bhoja, who ruled in Ujjain 
early in the eleventh century A. D. 


The third place worth visit is 


This mosque is located in Anantpeth. In 1397 
Dilawar Khan Ghori, during his governorship of 
Malwa, turned a Jain Vihar or temple into a mosque. 
Its name evidently has its origin in the fact that 
the mosque has been constructed on the site of an 
old Jain or Buddhist Vihar, utilising the foundation 
as well as the materials of the Vihar. The need of 
constructing new foundation having been obviated, 
the building was popularly called a mosque with- 
out foundation. The carved pillars and many 
other items of building materials clearly testify to 
their having originally belonged to a Jain temple. 
The part of the old Vihar still exists almost intact. 
Some of the engravings having been erased, while 
we still see the old engravings on some of the 
stones. The building therefore is a strange com- 
bination of a Jain temple and an Islami mosque. 

Next we proceed to 

It is a cave, where Bhartrihari is said to have shut 
himself as a religious mendicant. Who this Bhar- 
trihari was, is still a matter of dispute. Tradition 
assigns him the honour of being the elder brother 
of king Vikramaditya of Ujjain of the first century 


B. C. But Prof. Max Muller on the authority of 
a Chinese traveller, It Sing, identifies him witbu 
Bhatti, who according to Max Muller was a con. 
temporary of Siladitya II who lived in the seventh, 
century A, D. He was the author of three Shatakas 
and Bhatti-Kavya. 

The cave consists of a large square gallery- 
supported on pillars of black carved stones with 
chambers, excavated on each side containing Jain 
figures and inscriptions curiously carved on the 
walls. Inside is a double-storeyed building. A low 
doorway made of clumsy stones leads through a 
subterranean passage to the central gallery and the 
adjoining chambers. Being closed and covered on 
all sides, the rays of the sun do not get admittance 
into it. A visitor therefore has to resort to a 
search light or a torch in order to inspect the inside 
of the cave. 

From the structure and architecture of the 
building and from the Jain images carved therein r 
one upon the other on a square stone pillar inside 
the cave, it seems more probable, that the building 
might have been once a Jain or Buddhist Vihar 
instead of a cave of a Hindu Yogi; and as such it 
must have been built, some time in the third cen- 
tury B. C. during Ashoka's time, when the con. 
struction of Vihars was a fashion, throughout the 


country. As the level of the surrounding ground 
^gradually rose with the silt from river floods, the 
Vihar or temple might have been partially buried 
from outside and assumed the appearance of a dark 
vtinderground cellar or cave. How Bhartrihari or 
any Hindu Yogi came to appropriate it or how the 
cave came to be called after Bhartrihari, history 
does not know. 

In the first century B.C. Buddhism and Jainism 
were very flourishing and their Vihars were in good 
condition. No Hindu Yogi could then occupy it. 
It was in the 7th century A. D. that these reli- 
gions began to decline and Yuan Chwong, a Chihese 
Buddhist traveller who visited Ujjain in 641 A. D., 
found many of the Vihars ruined and vacant. This 
Vihar or cave could not therefore be the residence 
*of Bhartrihari, if he was the brother of Vikrama- 
ditya of the first century B. C. 

The stream of the river, as it proceeds north- 
ivard, grows deeper and deeper, until at a distance 
of seven miles from Ujjain, it divides itself into 
two branches which meet again at a short distance, 
-forming a small island as it were. The water here 
is deep enough and it goes by the name of Kaliya- 
deh. Here on this island there was, in ancient 
.times, a temple of Surya ( sun ). In front of the 


temple there were two receptacles of water, called 
Surya Kunda and Brahma Kunda. 

In the first decade of the 16th century, Sultan: 
Nasir-ul-Din Khilji, the then governor of Malwa r 
levelled the temple to the ground and in its place 
built a p'.^asure house which goes by the name of 


The structure of the building is of the Pathafr 
style of architecture. In the bed of the river, which 
runs west of the Mahal, many more receptacles 
were added to Surya and Brahma Kundas, thus 
making it impossible for moderners to distinguish 
the two old from others. The water of the stream 
runs through all of them, keeping them always full 
and then falls from a height of about fifteen feet, 
thus creating a small and beautiful waterfall. 

The main building consists of a central hall 
with galleries on all four sides and six rooms on the 
floor and of one main and two small rooms oa 
either side with side rooms attached to them on the 
first storey. 

Nasir-ul-Din used to live in this pleasure 
house, during his governorship of Malwa and one 
night in the year 1511 under an influence of liquor, 
he drowned himself in one of the receptacles and 
thus lost his life. 


In 1601 or 1602 A. D. Akbar stayed here for 
a few days, on his return from the Deccan, and 
during his sojourn here, he built a long and spacious 
building on the west bank of the river. This build- 
ing differs from the main Mahal in structure. It is 
locally called Astabal or stable owing to the fact 
that the Pindarees, when they made inroads into 
Malwa, used to occupy this Mahal and to keep 
their horses in this building. 

His late Highness Maharaja Madhav Rao got 
the Mahal thoroughly repaired and made many 
additions and alterations to make it quite fit as a 
palace of a royal personage without marring the 
grandeur and beauty of the old Mahal. The 
antique nature of the Mahal is still preserved. 
The Mahal is reached by an approach road of two 
.miles, joining the Ujjain-Agar road at a distance of 
-5 miles from Ujjain. 

The Secretariat, the Central Jail, the Civil 
Hospital and the Bohara's Mukarba in Sabziinandi 
are also well worth a visit. 














belonged to 







( t>ra ) 




12 J B.C. 

125 B. C 












Nadi Walaya